Scientists Detect Acceleration in Sea Level Rise

Satellite altimetry data.
Satellite altimetry data. Illustration: John Fasullo

From an article in The Guardian: “Is this acceleration very important? Well the authors answer that question. They calculate that the acceleration will cause more than half of the sea level rise that will occur by the year 2100. Right now, sea levels are rising at a rate of about 3 mm per year. If that rate remained constant until the year 2100 (no acceleration), oceans would be about 25 cm higher than they are today. But a continued acceleration would cause a rise of 65 cm. So, this seemingly small acceleration makes a huge impact.

“The authors are careful to note that if anything, their results are conservative. They don’t account for potential catastrophic losses of major ice sheets. Just recently a study appeared that showed an acceleration in land-ice loss from Antarctica. Meanwhile, at the northern tip of our planet, temperatures are soaring. If these trends continue, we may be in store for a rude awakening with a rapid destabilization in a major ice sheet that would have dire implications for coastal communities around the world.”

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