Leading global warming scientists have reconstructed the history of earth’s sea levels, tracing them back over some 3000 years. The conclusion that have arrived at is that the rate the sea has risen during the 20th century has been a lot faster than the previous 3000 years.
“We can say with 95 percent probability that the 20th-century rise was faster than any of the previous 27 centuries,” said Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who led the research with nine colleagues from several U.S. and global universities. Kopp said it’s not that seas rose faster before that – they probably didn’t – but merely that the ability to say as much with the same level of confidence declines.
The evidence shows that the sea rose around 14cm from 1900-2000 at a rate of around 1.4mm per year. The current rate according to NASA is around 3.4mm and this figure is still rising. It will come as no surprise that the finger is being pointed at global warming for this sudden rise. What has been shown is what they are calling a hockey stick type graph. If you imagine a hockey stick lying flat on the floor, representing a constant line on a graph the entire period and right at the end a sharp rise as the hockey stick bends which represents the 20th century.
Up till now the major contributors to sea level rises have been the melting of glaciers and the natural expansion of the oceans as the water warms up. However in the 2st century it is believed that there will be a runaway melting of the huge ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. This could dramatically speed up the rising sea levels.
If we were able to curb our global emissions we could see a future where the sea’s might only rise between 21-54cm in the 21st century, although with current predictions and emissions we are currently facing at a rise of around 52 – 131cm or around 5ft.
These types of studies really show the human impact on our planet.