Climate Change Report Says We're Worse Off Than We Thought


If all this attention to cleantech was starting to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, there’s a report out this week that could kill that glow. The oceans are warming and the sea levels are rising faster than previously predicted. According to a group of researchers, that 2007 report from the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change actually underreported the rise in both ocean temperature and sea levels from 1961 to 2003 by a very significant 50 percent. Oops.

The new report was created by researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Center for Australian Weather and Climate Research, and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center. The researchers say they have corrected for “systematic biases” in standard ocean observation techniques and also used statistics to fill in missing information.

Sea levels can rise by both thermal expansion of the heated seas and melting bodies of ice. The new report found that thermal expansion caused a greater rise in sea levels than the IPCC had previously reported — 0.53 millimeter per year, compared with 0.32 mm per year, according to the Agence France-Presse. The results are being reported in this week’s Nature.

In the grand scheme of things this means that we just need all these technologies scaled up faster if we’re ever going to find a global fix for climate change.

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