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Sea Level Rising: The Fastest Rate in 3,000 Years

Rise in sea level is but one of the repercussions of global warming. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science puts into perspective the rocketing rate at which this is happening in recent decades.

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Our planet’s ocean levels have changed over time even before global warming became an alarming situation — but this fluctuation has been gradual such that the sea rose by only 3 inches in 27 centuries. This means that the increase would be around 1 inch per century.

The figure spiralled up to 5.5 inches in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution. Thereafter, the rise has been happening at unprecedentedly high rates. Given the current situations, the rise would be equivalent to a foot every 100 years. According to estimates, the sea will have risen by 52 inches by 2100.

The new findings show that the increase in the 20th century has been the fastest in 3,000 years. The study focused on historical records, modern testing, and statistics to evaluate the fluctuating sea levels throughout the years. The lead author of this paper, Bob Kopp from Rutgers University,
explains that the 20th century having known great use of fossil fuel witnessed a high rate of temperature increase which caused the sea level rise.

Kopp and his team analysed 24 coastlines, marshes, and archipelagos across the globe. They also examined 66 tide-gauge records that went as far back as 1700. They found that sea levels were even decreasing before the Industrial revolution — that trend might have persisted if not for the human activities that ensued from then on. According to their results, sea levels will rise between 22 to 52 inches this century if global warming is not curbed; otherwise, the ocean level will only rise to a lesser extent.

Furthermore, another paper from Climate Central, argues that around 75% of tidal floods on the East Coast are the result of rising sea levels, and human activities. In a statement to The Times, its lead author, Dr. Benjamin H. Strauss, says that the problem is neither the tide nor the wind, but us.

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