IPCC Holds Workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities

24 June 2010: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened a workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities from 21-24 June 2010, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was held under the auspices of IPCC Working Group I (WG I), which deals with the Physical Science Basis.

Global sea-level rise is among the major long-term consequences of climate change. A reliable projection is required in order to quantify coastal impacts and to assess the sustainability of coastal settlements around the world. In particular, small islands are already now affected by rising sea level and therefore a robust estimate of the future rates of sea-level increase is crucial.

The WG I contribution to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will comprehensively assess the physical science basis of climate change, including sea level. The WG I contribution to the AR5 will include a chapter on Observations in the Cryosphere and a separate chapter on Sea-Level Change. The latter chapter will provide an end-to-end assessment of sea-level changes, including causes and regional expression. It will also treat the role of ice sheets and potential ice sheet instabilities as major potential contributors to future sea level. The assessment of regional sea-level change provides important regional information relevant for impacts studies which will be assessed in the WG II contribution to AR5.

The workshop was held early in the assessment cycle so that to provide a platform to discuss the current understanding of sea-level change in a comprehensive way across various scientific disciplines, ranging from oceanography, remote sensing, in situ observations, ice sheet dynamics and glacier research. About 100 experts from over 40 countries attended the workshop, including members of the newly appointed author teams for the two most relevant chapters of the WG I AR5.

A workshop report will be published in the third quarter of 2010 and will include extended abstracts of presentations and a short summary of the key issues addressed during the meeting. [IISD-RS Sources] [WG I Meeting Information]