Globally, the mean sea levels may rise by about half a meter by 2050, two meters by 2100, and approximately five meters by 2150 if gas emissions owing to global warming continue growing throughout the century, per new research conducted on the effect of polar ice caps melting.
This is significantly higher than UN experts have predicted so far. Pam Pearson, the director and founder of the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), mentioned at the Environmental Protection Ministry’s Climate Preparedness Directorate – an open meeting – in Tel Aviv.
In 2021, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that by 2100, the global mean sea level is expected to have risen by half a meter or up to a meter higher in two centuries.
The chief scientist associated with the Environmental Protection Ministry, Noga Kronfeld-Schor, will soon update government bodies regarding the new figures to help in future planning.
On Tuesday, Haaretz mentioned that information from over 20 sources indicated risks from rising sea levels to cliffs, drainage infrastructure, coastal desalination facilities, and defence facilities in Israel, especially those close to the sea.
Israel lacks a single body or any fixed budget that is dedicated to the problem of rising sea levels. Instead, the problem is one of the many tackled by the Climate Preparedness Directorate.
Many of the melting ice sheets are considered irreversible, as Pearson mentioned in the confab held by the Environmental Protection Ministry at the Steinhardt Natural History Museums.
Pearson added that policymakers are still not fathoming the massive global ramifications of polar ice melting. Scientists are striving to make the world more aware that melting the cryosphere would impact global systems on human timescales, including coastlines that are considered irreversible.
We are in unchartered territory as such a rapid rise in carbon dioxide emissions and temperatures were not seen before in the history of the Earth, Pearson mentioned, presenting images of parts of Israel and Egypt under sea-level scenarios.
The scenarios, sourced from an interactive site operated by Climate Central, reflected a chunk of the coast abutting the Haifa Bay in northern Israel submerged below water in the wake of a two-meter rise in the sea level. Many Dor and Nahsholim beaches on the north central coast would likely be submerged, along with parts of the Zikim and Nitzanim beaches in the south.
Per Pearson, if the global temperature rises by 3° Celsius — and current climate policies have so far predicted a 3.1°C temperature increase — unstoppable and sharp rises in the sea levels would rapidly start from 2060.
A rise by three meters, the Climate Central website reflects, would see that seawater reaching Nesher, a city situated in the Haifa District. It would probably bury Alexandria and a significant area of the Nile Delta in Egypt.
Humanity’s ability to prevent such a trend heavily depends on its success in lowering emissions and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The latter is happening, but on a small scale, and the carbon absorption technology — popular as carbon sequestration — is in its infancy.
Moreover, current emissions are still on the rise. Pearson added that we are following what scientists call the very high emissions that might lead to extreme and unforeseen sea levels.
Planners must consider storm surges expected to bring abnormal water increases toward the shore.
The Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute (IOLR) have been tracking sea levels since 1992. It has observed an average increase of 4.6 millimetres annually compared to the global figure of 3.25 millimetres. This adds up to 13.8 centimetres in total.
Alon Zask, the director of the institute, who until lately managed the Climate Preparedness Directorate, informed Haaretz that for future forecasts, the staff was more dependent on international calculations, as they don’t have the necessary computation ability.
The new international data will be well-integrated into a climate risk map currently in preparation under the Environmental Protection Ministry.
References: Times of Israel, AOL