The fictional world depicted in the Hollywood movie 'Waterworld' may soon be a reality if sea levels continue to rise.
According to a report in the Telegraph, this grim picture of planet Earth has been painted by climate scientists, who say that sea-level rise is now inevitable and will happen much quicker than most of us thought - and will last for centuries.
AdvertisementEven if greenhouse gas emissions stopped tomorrow, the oceans will continue to swell as they warm and as glaciers or ice sheets slide into the sea.
Scientists say that the "official" estimate of sea level rise by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - 20cm to 60cm by 2100 - is misleading.
It could well be in the region of one to two metres, with a small risk of an even greater rise.
"When we talk of sea level rising by one or two metres by 2100 remember that it is still going to be rising after 2100," said climate expert Dr Eric Rignot, of California University.
According to Dr Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, ""There is a very close and statistically highly significant correlation between the rate of sea level rise and the temperature increase above the pre-industrial background level."
His calculations suggest sea level will rise between 0.5 and 1.4 metres - and the higher estimate is more likely because emissions have been rising faster than the IPCC's worst case scenario.
"I sense than now a majority of sea level experts would agree with me that the IPCC projections are much too low," he said.Most of my community is comfortable expecting at least a metre by the end of this century," said Dr Robert Bindschadler, of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland.
For many islands and low lying regions including much of the Netherlands, Florida and Bangladesh even small rises will spell catastrophe.
Large parts of London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo could be among cities submerged beneath the waves unless a massive engineering effort can protect them against the waves.