File:Global Sea Level Rise Risks.png

From Global Warming Art

For an interactive mapping tool with slightly newer data, see the Sea Level Rise Explorer.



Projected sea level rise (~0.35 m) during the twenty-first century, as a result of global warming.

This is a topographic map designed to emphasize regions near sea level that could potentially be vulnerable to sea level rise.

Though the polar ice caps store sufficient water to raise sea level by ~65 m (IPCC 2007), the expected sea level rise due to global warming is much less and is expected to develop over millenia rather than centuries. Up to the year 2100, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that sea level rise will be only 18-76 cm depending on models and emission scenarios (IPCC 2007), which is similar to the ~20 cm of sea level rise observed during the twentieth century. As a result, sea level rise during the twenty-first century is likely to be a significant problem only for a limited number of highly vulnerable localities.

Over the long term, sustained high temperatures may lead to irreversible declines in the Greenland and/or Antarctic ice sheet. During the previous interglacial period, 120 kyr ago, sea level is estimated to have been 4-6 m higher due to orbital variations that caused greater solar heating at the poles than today (Overpeck et al. 2006). A total ablation of the Greenland ice sheet would correspond to a 7 m sea level rise (IPCC 2007). Though this process may proceed at only ~30 cm/century, the temperatures required to begin the decline may be only 1.9 to 4.5 °C, similar to the 1.1 to 6.4 °C of warming expected to occur by 2100 (IPCC 2007).

Data Quality

This map is based on the SRTM30 PLUS digital elevation model. Like all space based elevation models, SRTM30 contains errors of several meters, especially in areas of complex terrain (Rodriguez et al. 2006). Hence, while broad qualitative features should be relatively reliable, one should not rely upon data such as these for small scale or precise details unless they have been confirmed by ground based observations.

Highlighted Regions


This image was made by Robert A. Rohde from the public domain data set SRTM30 PLUS v.2.0.

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This image is an original work created for Global Warming Art by Robert A. Rohde.

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  • [full text] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007a). Climate Change 2007 - The Physical Science Basis: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978 0521 88009-1. 
  • [abstract] [DOI] Overpeck, Jonathan T., Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Gifford H. Miller, Daniel R. Muhs, Richard B. Alley, Jeffrey T. Kiehl (2006). "Paleoclimatic Evidence for Future Ice-Sheet Instability and Rapid Sea-Level Rise". Science 311 (5768): 1747-1750. 
  • [full text] Rodriguez, E., C.S. Morris, J.E. Belz, E.C. Chapin, J.M. Martin, W. Daffer, S. Hensley (2005). An assessment of the SRTM topographic products, Technical Report JPL D-31639. Pasadena, California: Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

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current03:43, 3 August 2007Thumbnail for version as of 03:43, 3 August 20072,000×1,091 (227 KB)Robert A. Rohde (Talk | contribs)
18:50, 7 July 2007Thumbnail for version as of 18:50, 7 July 2007737×402 (50 KB)Robert A. Rohde (Talk | contribs)
08:50, 7 July 2007Thumbnail for version as of 08:50, 7 July 20071,200×656 (104 KB)Robert A. Rohde (Talk | contribs)