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Climate Change: Seas and Oceans

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research he has conducted into the impact of the melting of ice-sheets; and what estimates his Department has made of the lowest and highest potential rise in sea levels as a result of such melting. (201323)

DEFRA funds research at the Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC) aimed at improving the representation of ice sheets in climate models, and (through the DEFRA/Ministry of Defence funded MOHC Integrated Climate Programme) scientists at the MOHC are working with the wider academic community to study future changes in ice-sheet volume and sea level. DEFRA also funds research into the potential impacts of sea level rise on the United Kingdom through the UK Climate Impacts Programme.

The Government advise the operating authorities to factor a predicted change in the rate of sea level rise from the current 2.5 to 4 millimetres per year from 13 to 15 millimetres per year by the end of the century, depending on location, into the design of present-day river and coastal defences. As part of a precautionary approach, this advice includes predicted land level changes as well as predicted changes in global average sea level.