Scientists at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) are warning that by 2100, Greenland’s melting ice sheet may drive more water than previously predicted toward New York, Boston, Halifax and other Northeast cities’ coastlines.

Published in last week’s edition of Geophysical Research Letters, the study shows moderate to high melt rates could cause sea levels to rise by 12–20 inches.

“Major Northeastern cities are directly in the path of the greatest rise,” says Aixue Hu, PhD, a project scientist in UCAR’s Climate and Global Dynamics Division.

“The oceans will not rise uniformly as the world warms,” explains coauthor Gerald Meehl, PhD, a UCAR senior scientist. “Ocean dynamics will push water in certain directions, so some locations will experience sea level rise that is larger than the global average.”

Photo by James Hannigan, © UCAR