Sea Levels Are Dramatically on the Rise – Are You Ready?

New reports show an unprecedented rise in sea levels, and scientists expect an increase in coastal flooding, too.

[DIGEST: Washington Post, Boston Globe, New York Times]

Two related studies published late last month show that global sea levels are rising at an alarming rate. Along with the rise in tides, people can also expect increased flooding, especially along the East Coast.

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of scientists reconstructed the history of Earth’s sea levels going back almost 3,000 years. They concluded “with 95 percent probability that the 20th-century rise [in sea levels] was faster than any of the previous 27 centuries.”  

Sea levels rose about 14 centimeters (about 5.4 inches) from 1900 to 2000, with an overall rate of 1.4 millimeters a year. According to NASA, the current rate of sea level rise is 3.4 millimeters per year, which suggests that the rate is accelerating.

Credit: Source.
Credit: Source.

Scientists blame this on man-made global warming. They calculated that, if humans were not on the planet, rather than a 14 centimeter rise, there would have been somewhere between a 3 centimeter fall and 7 centimeter rise in sea levels.  

The research further predicts that 21st-century sea levels will continue to rise at unprecedented rates no matter how much carbon dioxide we emit in the coming decades. However, lowering emissions can still

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