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Hansen: More than eight years later, we are publishing a paper describing these studies. We are publishing the paper in an open-access “Discussion” journal, which allows the paper to become public while undergoing peer-review (a pdf of the paper with figures imbedded in the text for easier reading is available here). I will get to the reasons for that in a moment, but first let me mention some curious numerology to get you thinking about scientific reticence.
Romm: As an important aside, Hansen and his 16 co-authors continue to be criticized for publicizing this paper prior to peer review. While I probably would have framed the paper’s launch somewhat differently — as an expert opinion and discussion piece coming from one or more major scientific institutions — I think this particular criticism is overblown.
Romm: The fact that 2°C total warming locks us in to sea level rise of 10 feet or more has been obvious for a while now. Heck, the National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a news release back in March 2012 on paleoclimate research with the large-type headline, “Global Sea Level Likely to Rise as Much as 70 Feet in Future Generations.” The lead author of that study explained, “The natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 70 feet higher than now.”
Romm: They also warn that even with the less than 1°C of warming we already have, ice sheet melt appears to be putting sea level rise on an exponential growth path that would bring 10 feet of sea level rise sooner, rather than later — even if we stabilize at 2°C total warming.
Romm: I also think Hansen is pushing the speculative possibility of 10 feet of sea level rise this century harder than he needs to. Yes, there are many experts who consider that a real possibility now, so it would be imprudent to ignore the warning. But the fact is, on our current emissions path, we now appear to be headed toward the ballpark of 4-6 feet of sea level rise in 2100 — with seas rising up to one foot per decade after that — which should be more than enough of a “beyond adaptation” catastrophe to warrant strongest of action ASAP.
James Hansen et al.: Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous, xxxx (pdf).
James Hansen et al.: Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2C global warming is highly dangerous, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions 23.07.2015.
Brian Palmer: When Are We Going Underwater? onEarth 29.07.2015.
James Hansen: Darn!! Sea Level Disaster Ahead! In 200-900 Years. When?? Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions 27.07.2015.
Joe Romm: James Hansen Spells Out Climate Danger Of The ‘Hyper-Anthropocene’ Age, Climate Progress 27.07.2015.
James Hansen: Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today’s Public – Not Next Millennium’s, Huffington Post 26.07.2015.
Dr. James Hansen gives his idea to curb climate change on Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNN 26.07.2015.
Andrew C. Revkin: A Rocky First Review for a Climate Paper Warning of a Stormy Coastal Crisis, New York Times 25.07.2015.
James Hansen: Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions 23.07.2015.
Ben Adler: James Hansen’s new climate study is terrifying, but he still has hope, Grist 22.07.2015.
John Queally: World’s Oceans Could Rise Higher, Sooner, Faster Than Most Thought Possible, Common Dreams 21.07.2015.
Mark Hertsgard: Climate Seer James Hansen Issues His Direst Forecast Yet, The Daily Beast 20.07.2015.
Chris Mooney: The world’s most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario for our planet’s future, Washington Post 20.07.2015.