Years of Data Shows We Missed Something Important About Sea Level Rise


And if this rate of acceleration continues, by the end of the century sea levels will rise by just over 2 feet.

As per the report, the sea level has been rising at about three millimeters per year in the last 4-5 years and if this climate change issue goes on, then it is estimated that the sea level rise may increase to 10 millimeters per year by 2100.

Assuming the acceleration rate stays the same, which the lead author said is unlikely, sea levels will surge 26 inches by 2100 from climate change alone.

However, according to scientists these projections are a conservative estimate and it is likely to be higher.

Published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study finds that sea level rise will not increase at a steady rate.

The danger of water overtaking familiar coastal cities will happen gradually, starting with the lowest-lying parts of city infrastructure, and is already a concern to city planners. Cazenave is one of the pioneers of space-based sea level research. They say the accelerating sea level rise is due to ocean warming and melting ice sheets. But detecting acceleration is challenging, even in such a long record. Volcanic eruptions, for example, can create variability: the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 decreased global mean sea levels immediately before the Topex/Poseidon satellite launch. The results reveal that sea level rise has been accelerating for the past 25 years, rather than steadily rising the same amount each year.

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"The tide gauge measurements are essential for determining the uncertainty in the global mean sea level acceleration estimate", said co-author Gary Mitchum, University of South Florida College of Marine Science.

The findings are "roughly in agreement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (AR5) model projections", said the report, based on 25 years of satellite data. In addition, global sea level can fluctuate due to climate patterns such as El Ninos and La Ninos (the opposing phases of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation), which influence ocean temperature and global precipitation patterns.

Again, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet was put forward as the primary cause of this acceleration. In Tampa, Florida, parts of the Bay Area could be under water - up to nearly 7 feet - by the end of the century based on sea level rise prediction. "They provide the only assessments of the satellite instruments from the ground".

"This study highlights the important role that can be played by satellite records in validating climate model projections", said John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research.

Like weather and climate, there are two factors in sea level rise: year-to-year small rises and falls that are caused by natural events and larger long-term rising trends that are linked to man-made climate change. "And they find that it has accelerated over this time period since 1993 when we first started measuring sea level using these satellites".

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