Sea levels are currently rising twice as fast as in the previous century, at a pace of 3.6 millimetres a year, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


VERIFIABLE CHANGES in sea levels and ice and snow covers are having an impact also on Finland, reminds Juhani Damski, the director general of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Wednesday published a special report indicating that sea levels are currently rising twice as fast as in the previous century – by 3.6 millimetres per year.

The sea level rise is only expected to accelerate due to increasing water inputs from the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

“The report demonstrates that we must not only commit to mitigating climate change, but also commit firmer to adapting to climate change – globally and in Finland,” said Damski, who is also the chairperson of the Finnish committee for the IPCC.

Mia Rahunen, a climate expert at WWF, said the Baltic Sea is set to lose up to 80 per cent of its ice cover by the end of this century.

FMI and the Ministry of the Environment on Wednesday reminded that even though sea levels are rising on average, the detected changes have varied regionally. In the Baltic Sea, for example, the rise is being slowed down by the rising of sea floor.

They also estimated that it is not yet too late to take action to mitigate the effects of the change. The IPCC said in its special report that the changes in seas, ice sheets, snow cover and permafrost will continue, but the intensity of the changes will depend on the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

It is therefore possible to mitigate the effects by slashing emissions in the coming decades.

The report also puts pressure on the climate policy of Finland, according to Krista Mikkonen (Greens), the Minister of the Environment. “We can lead by example by achieving carbon neutrality before 2035. It requires that we make decisions on substantial climate actions next year,” she commented in the press release.

The Finnish government has adopted the goals of becoming carbon neutral by 2035 and carbon negative soon thereafter. The measures announced after its recent budget session, however, have inspired little confidence in the attainability of the climate goals.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on Wednesday reminded that changes in snowfall, permafrost and ice coverage will increase winter flooding in Finland. It added that as the phenomenon is highly unusual in the country, it will be necessary to develop prediction and warning systems further.

“Adapting to climate change is an enormous economic challenge. Our understanding of its economic effects is still limited,” said Jaana Husu-Kallio, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

“We need more information to target adaptation measures accordingly to control the growing risks,” she added.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi