Antarctic ice to melt 20 years sooner than expected, a new study finds

Climate change is slowly rising global sea levels ever since the Industrial Revolution. It is no secret that soon humanity will be facing land shortage and drinkable water scarcity. A new study details that the global sea level may rise another 2.7 to 4.3 inches by 2100, based on climate change variations. The study was published in the journal Climate Dynamics.

This means that taking into consideration climate variability, the rise in sea level over time will actually be 13.3 to 19.2 inches instead of the incorrectly predicted 10.6 to 14.9 inches.

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The new study arrives at the conclusion that previous models of global sea-level change didn’t take into consideration the effects of internal climate variability. This inconsideration threw off previous estimates by 20 years, underestimating the rate of global sea-level rise. “Every bit adds on to the storm surge, which we expect to see during hurricanes and other severe weather events, and the results can be devastating,” co-author Chris Forest says.

The way that climate change models are predicted has a major flaw—climate variability. All models take into consideration an average or mean temperature. This “mean temperature” smooths out varying climate spikes in order for easier calculation. However, this process creates a bias in the model, reducing the number of days that the temperature is higher than the average temperature. These averages fail to take into consideration important peaks that impact the timeline of global warming in a significant way.

Climate variability fundamentally introduces inaccuracy as average values fail to consider warmer/sunnier days to the proper extent. On these days, the rate of melting of ice is increased, adding to the overall rise in global sea levels.

“It’s important to better understand these processes contributing to the additional ice loss because the ice sheets are melting much faster than we expected,” Forest says.

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