If carbon emissions continue at the current rate, sea levels will rise by 15 inches due to the melting ice caps by 2100, according to climate researchers from 36 institutions across the planet. The ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will be the biggest contributors to what would be a devastating rise in sea levels.

To put it into perspective, a one centimetre rise in sea levels will displace one million people around the planet.

The results, published in the journal Cryosphere, are the result of a six year analysis of climate models, which fall virtually in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2019 Special Report.

Last year’s report predicted Greenland to contribute 3.1 to 10.6 inches (eight to 27 cm) to global sea level rise between 2000-2100 and Antarctica could contribute 1.2 to 11 inches (three to 28 cm).

The latest results come from the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project (ISMIP6) led by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Project leader and ice scientist Sophie Nowicki, now at the University at Buffalo, and formerly at NASA Goddard, said: “One of the biggest uncertainties when it comes to how much sea level will rise in the future is how much the ice sheets will contribute.

“And how much the ice sheets contribute is really dependent on what the climate will do.”

Heiko Goelzer, a scientist from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, added: “The strength of ISMIP6 was to bring together most of the ice sheet modelling groups around the world, and then connect with other communities of ocean and atmospheric modellers as well, to better understand what could happen to the ice sheets.”

The ice sheets are being attacked from the top and bottom.

Temperatures in both the ocean and the air are rising as a result of climate change, meaning the ice sheets are being melted from all angles.

The research shows that under current emissions, West Antarctica will be the greatest loss of ice, leading to 7.1 in (18 cm) of sea level rise by 2100.

Hélène Seroussi, an ice scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said: “The Amundsen Sea region in West Antarctica and Wilkes Land in East Antarctica are the two regions most sensitive to warming ocean temperatures and changing currents, and will continue to lose large amounts of ice.

“With these new results, we can focus our efforts in the correct direction and know what needs to be worked on to continue improving the projections.”

Ms Nowicki added: “It took over six years of workshops and teleconferences with scientists from around the world working on ice sheet, atmosphere, and ocean modelling to build a community that was able to ultimately improve our sea level rise projections.

“The reason it worked is because the polar community is small, and we’re all very keen on getting this problem of future sea level right. We need to know these numbers.”

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