James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has been highlighting the issue of climate change since the 1980s and in his latest paper he warns that if current warming trends continue then this will lead to "the possibility of multi-meter sea-level rise this century." The reason for this is the rate at which ice sheets are being lost at the north and south pole. The loss, says Hansen, is not happening in a linear fashion. Current estimates suggest that ice sheet loss will double every 10 years. To combat this there is only one solution he says: "Rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions is required for humanity to succeed in preserving a planet resembling the one on which civilization developed".

 

What would the implications be for Dublin of a multi-meter rise in sea-level? A Google Maps application is available which gives an idea of what areas of the city would be affected by various rises of sea level. For example for Dublin after a 7m rise in sea level click here. It's clear that all reclaimed areas of the docklands and Ringsend would be returned to the sea as well as Fairview, North Strand and Sandymount. Howth would become an island in Dublin Bay. The effects would be catastophic. And Dublin is just one city. When you mulitiply the effects of all major coastal cities it's evident Climate Change is an issue which deserves much greater attention than it currently receives.

 

For the full version of Jim Hansen's paper click here.{jcomments on}

   

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