Sobering news from one of the world’s top climate scientist – Washington Post

One of the interesting recent revelations I’ve read is from Ray Kurzweil, who has shown that many if not most of human activity ends up generating exponential growth curves. In this major new scientific paper that has significant impacts for us along this coast, we see that ice loss due to global warming and the subsequent sea level rise may be showing this curve as well, instead of the ‘well behaved’ linear curve, so many scientists are hoping for.

This is must reading for anyone involved in planning low lying residential or commercial buildings on the Peninsula. The new estimates place sea level rise that we are starting to experience to be as much as ‘several meters” rather than the more conservative “1 meter” that his colleagues have been estimating. The notion of even seeing a 1 meter rise here in the next few decades will have significant impacts on many  ecosystems, and also low lying infrastructure such as the Port Townsend water treatment plant.

In the new study, Hansen and his colleagues suggest that the “doubling time” for ice loss from West Antarctica — the time period over which the amount of loss could double — could be as short as 10 years. In other words, a non-linear process could be at work, triggering major sea level rise in a time frame of 50 to 200 years.

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