By Don Jergler
Think sea level rise will be moderate and something we can all plan for? Think again.
Sea levels could rise by much more than originally anticipated, and much faster, according to new data being collected by scientists studying the melting West Antarctic ice sheet – a massive sheet the size of Mexico.
That revelation was made by an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday at the annual RIMS conference for risk management and insurance professionals in San Diego, Calif.
The conference is being attended by more than 10,000 people, according to organizers. It was day No. 3 of the conference, which ends Wednesday.
Margaret Davidson, NOAA’s senior advisor for coastal inundation and resilience science and services, and Michael Angelina, executive director of the Academy of Risk Management and Insurance, offered their take on climate change data in a conference session titled “Environmental Intelligence: Quantifying the Risks of Climate Change.”
RIMS16_conference logoDavidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections. Until now most projections have warned of seal level rise of up to 4 feet by 2100.
These new findings will likely be released in the latest sets of reports on climate change due out in the next few years.
“The latest field data out of West Antarctic is kind of an OMG thing,” she said.
Davidson’s purpose was to talk about how NOAA is sharing information with the insurance community and the public, and to explain how data on climate change is being collected.