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News Link • Environment

Sea-Level Rise Will Be Worse for Some, We Just Don’t Know Who

• Jess McNally via WIRED

The Seychelles could see up to 10 percent more sea-level rise than the global average. Or the sea level around the islands could drop. It depends on who you ask.

The fact that oceans will rise in a warming world is well established, but depending on how wind patterns change, climate change could mean quick inundation or more beach space for different coastlines. Wind patterns maintain height differences between different regions of the ocean, and if altered or intensified, they would push water from one part of the ocean to another.

The resulting sea-level changes could be up to 30 percent more, or less, than the global average in some regions, says oceanographer Axel Timmermann.

The problem is that scientists are just beginning to understand what will happen to climate at scales smaller than entire continents or ocean basins.

The 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, slated for 2011, will have an entire chapter devoted to the subject of regional differences in climate change and sea level. But so far, the estimates of regional sea level rise are preliminary at best, and in some cases completely contradict each other.

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