Warm­ing quick­ens rise of sea level

Dayton Daily News - - NATION - By Seth Boren­stein

Melt­ing ice WASHINGTON — sheets in Green­land and Antarc­tica are speed­ing up the al­ready fast pace of sea level rise, new satel­lite re­search shows.

At the cur­rent rate, the world’s oceans on av­er­age will be at least 2 feet higher by the end of the cen­tury com­pared to to­day, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers who pub­lished in Mon­day’s Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academies of Sci­ences.

Sea level rise is caused by warm­ing of the ocean and melt­ing from glaciers and ice sheets.

The re­search, based on 25 years of satel­lite data, shows that pace has quick­ened, mainly from the melt­ing of mas­sive ice sheets.

“It’s a big deal” be­cause the pro­jected sea level rise is a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate and it is likely to be higher, said lead au­thor Steve Nerem of the Univer­sity of Colorado.

Out­side sci­en­tists said even small changes in sea lev­els can lead to flood­ing and ero­sion.

“Any flood­ing con­cerns that coastal com­mu­ni­ties have for 2100 may oc­cur over the next few decades,” Ore­gon State Univer­sity coastal flood­ing ex­pert Katy Ser­afin said in an email.

Of the 3 inches of sea level rise in the past quar­ter cen­tury, about 55 per­cent is from warmer wa­ter ex­pand­ing, and the rest is from melt­ing ice.

But the process is ac­cel­er­at­ing, and more than three-quar­ters of that ac­cel­er­a­tion since 1993 is due to melt­ing ice sheets in Green­land and Antarc­tica, the study shows.

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