The sea rise rate observed in the past few hundred years has been the fastest recorded in almost 3,000 years. Such an unprecedented rate is expected to pose a lot more challenges and problems to modern cities apart from the risk of submersion.
The sea level rise is undoubtedly one of the most severe problems that the modern world faces and is one of the most visible fallouts of global warming. New research published Monday has revealed some disturbing impact of global warming and climate change, which is directly related to the rapid rise in sea levels.
When simulations and computer models were run using the data, the researchers realized the situation is about to get much worse if fossil fuel use isn’t brought down immediately and emissions of global warming pollutants are not curtailed, reported Mashable. Sea levels rose faster in the past century than during the previous 27 centuries, primarily due to man-made global warming, indicated two separate studies.
The study, “Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era,” was published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It strongly reaffirms the relationship between temperature and sea levels. The study indicates the two are correlated in the same way carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is connected with temperature.
The study relied on the global collection of sea level rise records that scientists have inferred from so-called “proxy” sources. These indirect sources include sediment drilling cores, coral records, and other sources that allow scientists to figure out where the sea levels were. Although not highly accurate, these sources allow researchers a fair idea about the changing levels of the oceans over millennia. This is the first of its kind study to use so many regional sea level rise reconstructions, along with modern tide gauge data, plus other techniques, reported USA Today. All this data was used just to find out how deeply humans have impacted the earth, and more importantly, the sea level rise, said study co-author Ben Horton of Rutgers University.
“There have been previous studies of former sea levels, but we were the first group to produce continuous global record of former sea levels. We have sites from the northern and southern hemisphere and we include proxy records from salt marsh, mangroves, corals, biological indicators and archeology.”
Research by American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that fossil fuels are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since the founding of ancient Rome, reported Metro. The studies indicate the American coastal communities will continually face worsening floods as a direct result of greenhouse gases, which are steadily heating up the planet.
Speaking about the research, researcher Benjamin H. Strauss said, “I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding. It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”
The studies predict an ominous future, where the sea rise rate will be much faster due to accelerated melting of mountain glaciers and polar ice caps. Additionally, due to the steady rise in temperature, ocean waters will continue to heat up and expand, further aiding sea rise rate.
Interestingly, sea levels would have risen regardless of human activity. However, without humans contributing, the pace would have been more than halved. In fact, some scientists feel without global warming accelerated by fossil fuels, global sea levels might have fallen by as much as three centimeters.
As sea levels rise, beaches will be eaten up. Municipalities will have to deal with coastal sewer systems that will steadily back up. With more saltwater than freshwater entering the ecosystem, it will be thrown out of balance, reported the Examiner.
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