Coastal towns may become underwater memories in the next few hundred years, as a new report emphasizes the correlation between manmade greenhouse gas emissions and rising sea levels. The paper shows that the drastic recent increase in sea levels is completely unprecedented – in fact, nothing like it has been seen in the past 28 centuries.
A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week examined variations in sea level rises and falls within recent centuries. The report adds to the growing collection of evidence that mankind is contributing to a rapidly increasing global temperature and consequent rise in sea levels.
Co-author of the study and ocean physics professor Stefan Rahmstorf said, “I think we can definitely be confident that sea-level rise is going to continue to accelerate if there’s further warming, which inevitably there will be.” He also added, echoing the frustration of numerous scientists before him when facing denial of global warming effects, “Ice simply melts faster when the temperatures get higher. That’s just basic physics.”
Researching the geological record has allowed the authors to confirm what is readily known in the scientific community. Since the 19th century, worldwide temperatures have soared 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Earlier predictions that sea levels could rise by up to three feet in the next 100-200 years is backed by these new studies. Rahmstorf goes on to say that it is not a matter of if levels will reach three feet – it is a matter of how long it takes to get there.