Climate Change as Far as the Eye Can Sea
One study shows sea levels rose more in the 20th century than in any of the previous 27 centuries
Our globe is heating up, and as a result, sea levels are rising at an alarming rate, according to a Rutgers University-led study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
An international group of climate scientists modeled the Earth’s sea levels from the last 3,000 years and concluded sea levels rose much faster in the 20th century than in any of the previous 27 centuries.
“The rate of global sea-level change in the 20th century was, with 95 percent probability, faster than during any century since at least 800 BCE,” wrote Robert Kopp, PhD, the lead author and an associate professor in Rutgers’ Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences on his website.
Until the world’s industrial revolution at the end of the 1800s, sea levels rose by 1 to 1.5 inches per century. From 1900 to 2000, they rose by about 5.5 inches, according to the study.
The study looked at records from 24 locations around the world and 66 tide-gauge measurements from the last 3,000 years.
If we continue relying on fossil fuels, the scientists noted, it’s very likely global sea levels will rise up to 4.3 feet in the 21st century. They warned of more coastal flooding.
Another study, also published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, projected that by 2100, the world’s oceans will rise between 11 to 52 inches, depending on how much heat-trapping gas we expel through our factories and vehicles.
The findings led the researchers to conclude that without global warming, ocean levels would have risen only up to 2.75 inches during the 20th century versus the 5.5 inches we see today.
“The rate of sea level rise will keep increasing with continued global warming, and, even if temperatures are stabilized through the phasing out of greenhouse gas emissions, sea level is still expected to rise for centuries,” the authors write.
In December, leaders from 200 countries adopted a legally binding agreement to fight climate change and prevent the earth from warming by 2 degrees Celsius, which scientists say would trigger catastrophic changes for the planet.
Depressed? Read about 10 surprising ways to help the planet.
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