January 2020
Vol 6, Issue 2

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Sea level rise is a severe and inevitable consequence of global warming—even if the Paris Agreement temperature goals could be achieved by 2100, seas are expected to continue rising for hundreds or thousands of years. Since sea level rise is caused by slowly-evolving processes such as thermal expansion, melting glaciers and ice caps, and disappearing ice sheets, it responds more slowly to changes in atmospheric composition than surface temperature does. In a comparison of the costs associated with targeting sea level rise and surface warming, Li et al. have found that a climate change mitigation strategy that focuses on limiting sea level rise (or the rate of sea level rise) may cost less than strategies that only prioritize limiting temperature. An emphasis on limiting sea level rise could allow for greater greenhouse gas emissions up front, providing wiggle room that may buffer the economic impact of a transition towards a greener economy. This strategy may also provide greater long-term protection for island nations threatened by sea level rise. [CREDIT: NOAA CLIMATE.GOV ADAPTED FROM ARC 2019]