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Fastest Sea Level Rise in Nearly 3000 Years

Fastest Sea Level Rise in Nearly 3000 Years

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, February 23, 2016/Categories: natural history, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

Reconstructed global sea level change (black) compared to semi-empirical projections using observed temperatures (red) and alternative temperature histories for the 20th century (blue)  (credit:PNAS)

Publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers from Rutgers University and elsewhere demonstrate sea levels are rising fasten than any time since the founding of ancient Rome. The research was based upon sea-level indicators gathered from marshes, coral reefs, and archaeological sites in over 24 locations globally spanning the last 3,000 years.


              Locations of sites with (A) proxy data and (B) tidal-gauge data included in the analysis. (credit: PNAS)

Robert Kopp, lead author of the new study, said their collaborative research

"represents the first attempt to combine statistically rigorous analysis methods with a database to reconstruct historical sea-level change."

Four primary conclusions were presented in the PNAS article:

  • the rate of global sea-level change in the 20th century was, with 95% probability, faster than during any century since at least 800 BCE;
  • the 20th century wasn’t the only time period when temperature and global sea level changed together. Global sea levels underwent a robust fall with 95% probability between 1000-1400CE, that occurred at the same time as a decline in global temperature of ~3F;
  • the statistical model comparing the relationship between temperature and sea-level change over the last 2000 years, it was determined, when using alternative scenarios in which the 20th Century did not exceed the average temperature in the years 500-1800CE, that global sea-level rise in the 20th century would, with ~95% probability, have been less than 51% of the actual observed value. This is consistent with what the world might have been like in the absence of human-induced atmospheric warming; and
  • the new model reconciles the remaining discrepancies between physical process models of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and semi-empirical models.

The complete PNAS article can be read here

The rise in sea levels observed in the 20th Century exceeded five inches. This is especially important for coastal areas already experiencing consistent flooding events. While Earth scientists can continue to provide insights on new climate realities, their findings deserve better responses than denial by official dogma.



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