THE Greenland ice sheet may be thousands of miles away, but the rate at which it's melting was a point of concern in Parliament yesterday.
Also in question was how much rise in sea level will Singapore experience as a result of global warming.
More about this in Teh Jen Lee's article in The New Paper 17 Sep 08
full article also on the wildsingapore news blog
Some extracts ...
Minister Yaacob Ibrahim answered both MPs by first stating that the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected last year that climate change could lead to sea level rises of between 18cm and 59cm by the year 2100.
This does not factor in the rapid melting of Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets, as the understanding of these effects is too limited.
Since 1991, all new reclamation projects have to be built to a level 125cm above the highest recorded tide level.
This is 66cm more than the IPCC's projected highest sea level rise of 59cm by the end of the 21stcentury in the worst-case scenario.
Singapore's development of drainage infrastructure over the last 30 years has reduced flood-prone areas from 3,200 ha in the '70s to 98ha today.
PUB will reduce it to less than 48 ha by 2011 through the development and improvement of drainage infrastructure, such as the widening and deepening of drains and canals.
While the objective of this is to reduce the flood-prone areas and alleviate flooding today, a better drainage system helps to reduce the possibility of upstream flooding when heavy rain coincides with high tide or sea level rise.
In addition, the National Environment Agency, in consultation with other government agencies, commissioned a two-year study last year to understand the specific implications of climate change in Singapore, based on the IPCC studies.
These include sea level and temperature changes, flooding and coastal erosion. The study is expected to be completed next year.
Is rapid melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets likely? These and more links on the wild shores of singapore blog
What to speak up about this? Send your comments to Sustainable Singapore, an effort to gather feedback on climate change issues. More in this earlier post.