Sea Levels Are Rising Three Times Faster Than Thought, Study Reveals

First Posted: May 25, 2017 04:50 AM EDT

Sea-level rise is accelerating three times faster than thought, according to a new study. The ocean levels on the planet Earth are rising less than a half-inch per decade before 1990. On the other hand, from 1993 to 2012, the water rises for about 1.22 inches for each decade.

The new study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was led by Sonkë Dangendorf from the University of Siegen in Germany and other colleagues.

Dangendorf said that the sea-level rise recently "accelerated significantly." He further said that the increasing rate is due to meltwater from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. In addition, the thermal expansion of the warming ocean also contributes to rising sea level, as noted by Fusion.

So, how does sea-level rise work? The USA Today pointed out that the Earth's temperature warms, so as the oceans. With this, the greenhouse gases trigger more glaciers and ice sheets to melt. Then, the water expands.

Dangendorf said that ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic store some hundred times more water than glaciers. He further said that the further melting of the ice sheets could pose a certain risk for low coastal areas.

The Fifth Assessment Report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that the global sea level could rise for about 4 feet to slightly over 10 feet or 39 inches by 2100. This also depends on the fossil fuel emissions.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that the sea level could accelerate as much as 6½ feet at the end of the century. The rising of sea level is attributed to man-made climate change that warms the planet Earth. 

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