Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Top scientists warn of catastrophic rise in sea levels

ABC News Online, 29 Jan 2009

Several of Australia's most pre-eminent climate change scientists have given evidence to a federal parliamentary committee in Hobart.

The committee is investigating the impacts of climate change on Australia's coastal communities.

Scientists from the CSIRO and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre gave evidence on Wednesday afternoon.

They have reiterated the need for drastic action to stop a catastrophic rise in sea levels.

Dr John Church told the committee a sea level rise of 80 to 90 centimetres by 2100 seems likely.

He says strong action now will not stop significant coastal disruption.

"We cannot prevent all sea level rise. We will have to adapt to some sea level rise," he said.

The scientists say that uncertainty about melting icecaps means it is hard to predict the impact of rising sea levels on the Australian coastline.

Dr Tony Press from the Antarctic CRC says more research is needed into the impact of melting polar ice.

"It's not going to melt tomorrow but we need to know what the potential is for the rate of increase of sea level rise due to warming in West Antarctica and the Arctic might be," he said.

The committee will table its report in Parliament later this year.

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