A new research reveals that sea level rise is on the up and up, contradicting previous theories that stated it was slowing down.
Records from coastal tide gauges demonstrate that the sea level accelerated during the 20th century and this is not likely to change anytime soon. However, within the previous two decades, this pace started to decelerate, startling researchers, and prompting them to analyze the data available on satellite and tide gauge.
The results of their study, which were published in Nature Climate Change on Monday, the 11th of May 2015, show that the sea level is rising faster even if the global sea level rose a bit slower in the last twenty years, between 1993 and 2014. Dr Christopher Watson from the University of Tasmania and his team of experts found that the record of sea level rise two decades ago was too high. This error led experts to believe that the sea level was decreasing. In reality, it was accelerating by about 0.05 mm/year. “Sea level rise is getting faster. We know it’s been getting faster over the last two decades than it’s been over the 20th century and its getting faster again,” said Dr. Christopher Watson. This brings acceleration in line with the predictions regarding sea level rise made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), thus encouraging scientists to have more confidence in their projections. “The better agreement of the altimeter record after the correction … is a reason for greater confidence in the projections,” said Professor Jonathan Gregory from the University of Reading and a lead author of the IPCC’s most recent climate report, who agreed that the study was useful. His 2013 report revealed that the sea level is likely to rise between 28 cm and 98 cm by the end of the 21st century.
In order to measure sea level rise, altimetric satellites are employed and the experts analyze tide gauges on shorelines. The error in previous measurements might be due to the fact that satellite instrumentation has degraded.
This increase is mainly due to the climate change, which leads to the melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica.
This study might be quite alarming, especially for those living close to coastal line. Even if the research might still need some reevaluation, the data is quite suggestive of what future predictions sound like. It is quite clear that “the rate of change is increasing,” Dr. Christopher Watson emphasizes.
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