The direct effect of greenhouse gases on sea level rise: The 2nd stage!

Curious as to why the sea level is rising? Read it here in the 1st episode!

If we do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the sea level off the Dutch coast may rise by up to 1.2 metres around 2100 compared to the beginning of this century. If parts of the Antarctic ice cap become unstable, it could rise by up to 2 metres [1].

The IPCC, the United Nations climate panel, has listed the latest findings on sea level rise in their 2021 report:

Figure 1. Sea level on the Dutch coast as observed and according to the new, indicative sea level projections. The drawn lines in green, purple and red indicate the median of these projections, the coloured area the 90% bandwidth (Source: KNMI Climate Signal'21). This rise is accelerating; between 2006 and 2018 it increased by 3.7 mm per year. In order to understand the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on sea level rise, the IPCC has developed scenarios of greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations based on Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). These SSPs form plausible worldviews, assuming various socio-economic, technological and demographic developments in the future.

As shown in Figure 1, the sea level rise off the Dutch coast in 2050 will be ±32 cm in the highest emission scenario (SPP5-8.5). If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, this rise will be ±26 cm in the same year (SSP1- 2.6).

When looking at 2100 the differences become more extreme. The highest emission scenario is then accompanied by an average rise of 88 cm and the lowest scenario predicts a rise of 56 cm. The greenhouse gases that we all emit will therefore make the difference between an extra 1/3 of a metre rise in the Dutch sea level this century!


Are you curious about your contribution to the emission of these greenhouse gases, and do you want to change this, then register here for the climate-classic on 20 June!


  1. KNMI, 2021: Climate signal'21
  2. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change