chapter  4
Sea-Level Rise: Regional Consequences and Responses
Pages 16

Climatic change and its possible impact on sea level, hy­ drology, agriculture, and other dimensions of human devel­ opment have concerned physical and social scientists for some time. But the emergence of this issue on the world’s political agenda is of fairly recent origin, spurred in partic­ ular by the first World Climate Conference, organized by the World Meteorological Organization in 1979. Global warming noted during the last century was interrupted prior to the mid-1960s, but since then global mean temperatures have increased by about 0.3 degrees Celsius (°C) (Wigley, 1987). This most recent warming episode and other physi­ cal insights into possible causes of climatic change permit us, cautiously and selectively, to extrapolate trends into the future (Bolin, 1987). The World Climate Conference seems to have provided the springboard for the joining of public policy discussions to ongoing scientific research efforts.