Rising sea levels, flooding, erosion and “once in a hundred year” storms will be the news of the morning by 2050 according to findings in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The report suggests that rising sea levels caused by melting ice-caps and glaciers will see islands and other regions below sea level submerged by between 30 and 60 centimetres by 2100.
The report notes that global warming has already risen 1% higher than pre-industrial levels, and if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly, flooding could increase to as much as 60-100 centimetres.
The report calls for vital “timely, ambitious and coordinated action” to address the damaging effects of climate change on oceans and the planet’s cryosphere, or frozen regions.
The report further notes that over 1,35 billion people in high mountainous areas, or in low-lying coastal zones, are at risk as their ways of life rely on stable oceanic and cryosphere systems stability.
Present estimates note up to 4 million people living in the polar region, and a further 165 million island-dwellers, mostly citizens of developing island nations,
The IPCC believes these people are the most vulnerable as the incidences and severity of extreme sea-level events rise, and freak events recorded once per century in the past, b is expected to occur every year in many regions by 2050, making some areas uninhabitable.
Ko Barrett, Vice-Chair of the IPCC, said: “The world’s ocean and cryosphere have been ‘taking the heat’ from climate change for decades and consequences for nature and humanity are sweeping and severe. The rapid changes to the ocean and the frozen parts of our planet are forcing people from coastal cities to remote Arctic communities to fundamentally alter their ways of life.
“By understanding the causes of these changes and the resulting impacts and by evaluating options that are available, we can strengthen our ability to adapt.”