A recent analysis has showed that the pace of rise in sea levels has increased to thrice as much as it used to rise back in the 1990’s. This also indicates that an acceleration in the pace of sea level rise is due to occur in the coming days.
A leader of the study, German researcher Sonke Dangendorf said, “We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought” He, along with with scientists at institutions from Spain, France, Norway, and the Netherlands have published a paper to the National Academy of Sciences. However, the findings of the study published on this paper are not the first of their kind. But it does reveal the increased pace in seal level rising than it had any time before the 20th century.
It says that before 1990, the earth’s oceans were rising at around 1.1 millimeters per year, or just 0.43 inches per decade. But from 1993 through 2012, they rose at 3.1 millimeters per year, or 1.22 inches per decade.
According to Dangendorf, the reason behind this rise in sea levels throughout much of the last two decades was the melting of land-based glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms. But now in the 21st century, another contributor has added on top of all that; the breaking ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
Studying the rise and falls of the sea levels is difficult and complicated because scientists only have precise satellite records of it from the early 1990’s. But for the times before that, they have to rely on tide gauges spread around the world that weren’t very accurate. Because sea level rise varies in different places due to various causes like the rising and sinking of land, huge gravitational effects on the waters of the globe and other local factors.
The new study tried to solve this problem by putting together sea-level records adjusting the results of local tide gauges based on an understanding of the factors that affect the sea-level rise in a particular region and weighing different regions differently in the final analysis before combining the results with the satellite records.
Another similar study led by Rutgers University sea levels researcher Robert Kopp revealed that sea levels rose at a rate of 1.2 millimeters per year between 1901 to 1990. But other researchers have found figures as large as 1.6 to 1.9 millimeters.
These little numbers matter because they prove that the larger the sea-level rise was during the 20th century, the lesser it has increased since then, and the other way round.
Further Reading: Sea level rise will double coastal flood risk worldwide