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Climate Change: Seas and Oceans

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 3 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the likely change in sea levels attributable to climate change after 2100; and if he will make a statement. (319969)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report indicates that, after 2100, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries to come, mainly because of continued thermal expansion of the oceans. However, the magnitude of this rise cannot be predicted precisely because it depends on a number of factors, including the effects of future greenhouse gas emissions on temperature increases and the dynamics of ice sheet melting.

The Netherlands Delta Committee report, published in 2008, estimated that thermal expansion and the likely contribution from land-based ice melt could cause global sea level rises in a range from 1.5 to 3 metres by 2200, compared to levels at the end of the last century. Urgent mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions would reduce projected sea level rise but not prevent it beyond 2100, so adaptation to sea level rise would also be needed.