Sea Rise Estimates Double

Antarctic melt will threaten major world cities
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 3:57 AM CST
Rising sea levels will threaten low-lying island nations like Tuvalu in decades to come, scientists warn.   (©mrlins)
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(Newser) – Accelerated melting of Antarctic ice is set to send sea levels rising double previous estimates, researchers warn. The seas will rise by 4.5 feet by the end of this century if temperatures continue climbing at the current rate, threatening coastal cities like New York and Shanghai, according to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Experts there say that a 1.5-foot rise will happen even if current emissions targets are met, the Times of London reports.

The researchers found that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica had shifted wind patterns, cooling much of the continent. The hole is now closing as the effects of the ban on CFCs takes hold, meaning Antarctica will get warmer much faster. "One man-made environmental impact—the ozone hole—has shielded most of Antarctica from another—global warming," a scientist at the British Antarctic Survey tells the Telegraph. "But it will no longer be protected."

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