A major gap in predictive capability concerning the future evolution of the ice sheets was identified in the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As a consequence, it has been suggested that the AR4 estimates of future sea-level rise from this source may have been underestimated. Various approaches for addressing this problem have been tried, including semi-empirical models and conceptual studies. Here, we report a formalized pooling of expert views on uncertainties in future ice-sheet contributions using a structured elicitation approach.We find that the median estimate of such contributions is 29 cm—substantially larger than in the AR4—while the upper 95th percentile value is 84 cm, implying a conceivable risk of a sea-level rise of greater than a metre by 2100. On the critical question of whether recent ice-sheet behaviour is due to variability in the ice sheet–climate system or reflects a long-term trend, expert opinion is shown to be both very uncertain and undecided.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Nature Climate Change|
|Early online date||6 Jan 2013|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2013|