Agrees with caution, advocates moderation.
Climate researchers’ pessimism about future sea-levels has increased. New findings presented yesterday at the World Climate Summit in Copenhagen by Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Al Gore, show scientists believe sea levels are set to rise quicker than previously assumed.
The report, correlated by the Norwegian Polar Institute, claims that the melting rates in all snow and ice-covered regions – Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, the “third pole” of the Himalayas, and other glaciated areas throughout the world – are far above normal seasonal changes, with the changes occurring at an accelerating pace.
Although scientists admit that there will be some transformations in the Arctic and glacier environments - with adaptation inevitable - they recommend both a drastic cut in global greenhouse gas emissions, and action regarding short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone to try and minimize the impact.
But Willy Fjeldskaar, a professor both at the International Research Centre in Stavanger (IRIS) and the University of Stavanger criticises the report for being selective.
"It only refers to scientific publications that forecast extremely high sea-level rises, but there are other recent scientific publications that give lower figures. These publications are neither mentioned nor referred to,” he tells The Foreigner.
Fjeldskaar also questions its accuracy, saying that unlike other scientific works, it hasn’t been subjected to a quality-control. He believes this is a serious drawback.
“(It) says that the melting-rate of Antarctica and Greenland is increasing and the sea-level is rising. In keeping with the satellite data, we don’t see any acceleration in sea-level rise. On the contrary, a recent report from the UNEP (United Nation’s Environmental Programme) claims this rise has decreased over the last years.”
He recommends moderation regarding the report’s conclusions, because 15 years of satellite measurements have given unclear answers as to what happens to the ice on Antarctica/Greenland.
“There could be a slight net melting, or there could also be a net growth of ice volumes. At the moment we don't have any good models for predicting future sea-level changes. In 100 years, it could be insignificantly higher, or it catastrophically higher. Nobody can tell for sure.”
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