Aslak Grinsted‎ > ‎Misc. Debris‎ > ‎

How would the world look if Greenland melts?

posted Mar 18, 2008, 4:56 AM by Aslak Grinsted   [ updated Sep 22, 2011, 1:49 AM ]
On this page you can see the effect of Global sea level rise on your local coastline. An alternative google mapplet can be found here. You can also do the same in google earth but until the topography in google earth improves then the first link is probably better. 
Global sea level will probably rise by 1-2 m this century due to global warming. On top of this sea level there is the normal variability caused by tides and storm surges. So you need to take that into account if you want to know if your property is safe for the next hundred years. However, there is currently great uncertainty about future sea level rise (Check the IPCC report). Additionally, sea level will continue to rise for many centuries after that in all the most likely scenarios. So for expensive long term infrastructure (like expansions of major cities) it is essential to properly take future sea level rise into account.
In the figure on the right you can see the effect of a 7 m increase in sea level would have on the Copenhagen coastline. 7 m is roughly what you would expect if the entire Greenland ice sheet melted. (Although please note that sea level rise will not be uniformly distributed over the Earth, and particularly Greenland ice loss would have a relatively smaller impact in Copenhagen due to the reduced gravity of a smaller ice sheet.)

Note: we have just published a study where we project ~1m sea level rise by 2100.