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Science. 2007 Jan 19;315(5810):368-70. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

A semi-empirical approach to projecting future sea-level rise.

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  • 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 14473 Potsdam, Germany.


A semi-empirical relation is presented that connects global sea-level rise to global mean surface temperature. It is proposed that, for time scales relevant to anthropogenic warming, the rate of sea-level rise is roughly proportional to the magnitude of warming above the temperatures of the pre-Industrial Age. This holds to good approximation for temperature and sea-level changes during the 20th century, with a proportionality constant of 3.4 millimeters/year per degrees C. When applied to future warming scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this relationship results in a projected sea-level rise in 2100 of 0.5 to 1.4 meters above the 1990 level.

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