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March 4, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Smaller Sea Level Rise, But We’re Still Fucked

Recent climate research has emphasised some of the particular effects which climate breakdown may have.

“Climate breakdown” is an all-encompassing term for the dire effects of human-caused climate change beyond mere warming.

Nick Golledge, Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington’s (VUW) Antarctic Research Centre, recently published a study in Nature, modelling projected sea ice loss and subsequent sea level rise.

His study indicated that seas might only rise 25 cm by 2100, less than previous predictions. However, sea levels and temperatures would continue to rise far into the future, even if emissions are massively reduced.

This would have an impact on ocean currents, which regulate much of the temperature around the world, such as in the Gulf Stream.

The Gulf Stream, like most water currents, is driven by differences in ocean temperature and salinity. Melting freshwater ice sheets and warming ocean temperatures have the potential to alter the entire global climate system, regardless of whether more atmospheric warming occurs.

The issue has been brought closer to home, with innovation and indigenous knowledge helping provide solutions to the challenges of climate breakdown.

Native New Zealand species are threatened by climate breakdown: warmer temperatures mean that tussock flowers earlier, providing food to rodents who may damage bird populations further during summer time.

Dr. Pauline Harris, a VUW Senior Lecturer, is talking to iwi and hapū across the country to learn from their ancestral memories about how plant distribution and animal behaviour have changed.

Similarly, Amin Rastandeh, a PhD student at VUW’s School of Architecture, has studied the effect of planting native hardwood trees to protect other natives and reduce some of the risks of climate change, such as storms.

Students interested in making their voice heard on climate breakdown can sign a banner in the Hub, in preparation for the global student climate change protest on March 15.

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