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Posted Thu May 28 2009: from NSF, via EurekAlert:
Sea-level rise may pose greatest threat to Northeast US, Canada
The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet this century may drive more water than previously thought toward the already threatened coastlines of New York, Boston, Halifax and other cities in the northeastern United States and Canada, according to new research.... They considered three scenarios: the melt rate continuing to increase by 7 percent a year, as has been the case in recent years, or the melt rate slowing down to an increase of either 1 or 3 percent a year. If Greenland's melt rate slows down to a 3 percent annual increase, the study team's computer simulations indicate that the runoff from its ice sheet could alter ocean circulation in a way that would direct about a foot of water toward the northeast coast of North America by 2100. This would be on top of the average global sea level rise expected as a result of global warming. Although the study team did not try to estimate that mean global sea level rise, their simulations indicated that melt from Greenland alone under the 3 percent scenario could raise sea levels by an average of 53 centimeters (21 inches). If the annual increase in the melt rate dropped to 1 percent, the runoff would not raise northeastern sea levels by more than the 8 inches found in the earlier study in Nature Geoscience. But if the melt rate continued at its present 7 percent increase per year through 2050 and then leveled off, the study suggests that the northeast coast could see as much as 51 centimeters (20 inches) of sea level rise above a global average that could be several feet.
[Read more stories about: rising sea level, arctic meltdown]

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