Page last updated at 02:18 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

'More bad news' on climate change

Matt McGrath
BBC environment reporter

David Shukman reports from Lowestoft, England on sea level rises

More bad news on climate change is expected as more than 2,000 climate scientists gather in Copenhagen.

They will be trying to pull together the latest research on global warming ahead of political negotiations later in the year.

The scientists are concerned that the 2007 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are already out of date.

Their data suggests greater rises in sea levels this century.

For the scientists gathering in the Danish capital, this meeting is about removing as much wriggle room as possible from the political negotiations on a new global climate treaty taking place in December.

While the IPCC reports of 2007 were praised for their recognition of the causes of global warming, the slow, consensus-based nature of the process, meant more recent data was not included.

Greater clarity

But this meeting is happening outside the IPCC, so it will have the very latest estimates, and the scientists will not need to agree every word with the political masters.

This unfettered atmosphere is likely to produce greater clarity about the scale of some very worrying trends, especially sea level rise.

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The IPCC report projected a maximum sea level rise this century of 59cm (23in), but with the caveat that their figures did not include "accelerated" melting of glaciers or icecaps.

The most recent data, to be presented here, will suggest a far higher figure with dramatic implications for many island nations and coastal regions.

The meeting is being organised by the University of Copenhagen. Its prorector, Lykke Friis, said the scientists would be presenting and clarifying the latest information, meaning political leaders would not have the excuse that they needed more research before agreeing on a deal.

As well as hearing from scientists, the meeting will also look at the social and economic impacts of the global rise in temperatures.

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