File:Sea Level Projections.png

From Global Warming Art



Expanded record of sea level rise since 1880 with comparison to records from individual geologically stable sites and the satellite record of the last decade.

This figure shows sea level rise from 1950 to 2000 and projections of possible scenarios through 2100. The historical record is the same as shown at right and is based on an average of 23 long duration tide gauge records from geologically stable sites, see Image:Recent Sea Level Rise.png for details.

The projections are adapted from Figure 11.1 of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2001a). These results are based climate model simulations of the IS92a ("business as usual") scenario for greenhouse gas emissions. The models used include direct forcing from greenhouse gas emissions and partially offsetting cooling from man-made sulfate emissions, but do not include other indirect aerosol effects. Further details on the models are available in IPCC tables 11.13 and 9.1.

The results of the IPCC report were modified slightly by adjusting the records so that they overlap in the year 2000 and match the instrumental record at that time. The gray bar at 2100 indicates the full range of uncertainty associated with the sea level projections after accounting for the limits of the uncertainty in the most extreme models.


Map of regions potentially vulnerable to sea level rise.

Analogy to past climate states, suggests that a warming of ~3°C, such as is anticipated by 2100, would be sufficient to cause 4-6 m of sea level rise (Overpeck et al. 2006). However, such changes may take a millennium to be fully realized.

Research published since the IPCC Third Assessment Report appears to indicate that glacial outflow has increased beyond model expectations (Alley et al. 2005). Similarly, recent studies suggest that Antarctica may be losing mass while the models had predicted near neutral mass balance or even slight gains due to increased snow fall (Velicogna and Wahr 2006). The full implications of these results are not yet understood, but it suggests that sea level rise may be at the high end or above the IPCC projections shown here.


This figure is an original composition by Robert A. Rohde based on public domain data.

Global Warming Art License

This image is an original work created for Global Warming Art by Robert A. Rohde.

It is intended to be widely used, but the terms of use vary depending on the application.
Please select the category below that best matches your intended use.

It is also requested, but not required, that authors send Global Warming Art a copy of any significant publications that include the use of this image. Those interested in commercial and/or higher quality reproduction may also wish to refer to the information for professional republishers.


  • [abstract] [DOI] Alley, Richard B., Peter U. Clark, Philippe Huybrechts, and Ian Joughin (2005). "Ice-Sheet and Sea-Level Changes". Science 310 (5747): 456-460. 
  • [full text] IPCC (2001a). Houghton, J.T.,Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C.A. Johnson (eds.): Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521807670. 
  • [abstract] [DOI] Overpeck, Jonathan T., Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Gifford H. Miller, Daniel R. Muhs, Richard B. Alley, Jeffrey T. Kiehl (2006). "Paleoclimatic Evidence for Future Ice-Sheet Instability and Rapid Sea-Level Rise". Science 311 (5768): 1747-1750. 
  • [abstract] [DOI] Velicogna, Isabella and John Wahr (2006). "Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity Show Mass Loss in Antarctica". Science 311 (5768): 1754-1756. 

There are no pages that link to this file.

File history

Click on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time.

current08:45, 17 March 2006Thumbnail for version as of 08:45, 17 March 2006550×394 (21 KB)Robert A. Rohde (Talk | contribs)