A new study from Harvard indicates that sea levels are rising 25 percent faster than previously thought. The researchers reevaluated measurements from 600 tidal gauges across the globe to recalculate the rate of sea level rise over the past two decades—and the results are terrifying. The study criticizes previous research for being incomplete or skewed by other factors.


Researchers looked back over readings from 1901 through 1990 and realized that previous studies had over-estimated the rise in sea levels. By revising the figures for those years, study authors determined that the acceleration is actually far more severe than previously reported.

The revised measurements indicate that sea level rise averaged about 1.2mm (0.05 inch) each year, which is less than past estimates. For the decades since 1990, the rise leapt to 3mm a year due to the quickening thaw of ice.

The new study wasn’t just about reassessing the old readings. Researchers are looking ahead and trying to project how far the world’s oceans will rise in the future. Sea level rise was previously estimated based on historical trends, but the quickening thaw of glaciers has a dire impact on the figures.

Related: US coastlines will be flooding 30 times a year by 2050

Research on the subject is ongoing and the Harvard study results aren’t definitive by any means. A world expert in sea levels, Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said further analysis was needed to pin down 20th century sea level rise.

+ Nature

Via The Guardian

Images via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Go Greener Oz.