The latest data coming from scientists in Antarctica suggests we've been underestimating the height of sea level rise facing us by the end of the century.
At the Antarctic Science Conference in Dunedin, scientists have made the disconcerting prediction that the sea levels could rise by 1.5 metres by the end of the century if nothing is done about climate change.
This is 50 centimetres higher more than originally projected, and would be the result of Antarctic ice sheets melting.
One of the key points raised at the conference was ensuring scientific data is as accurate as possible, in order to plan the best contingencies if sea level rise does occur as ice shelves begin melting.
This would put New Zealand's low-lying communities at risk.
"Having this meeting in Dunedin is not lost on us. Dunedin is the poster child in New Zealand for sea-level rise," Victoria University's Tim Naish said.
"A lot of south Dunedin's in real trouble just with 50 centimetres of sea-level rise. And that's what we're going to get at a best case scenario."