Sea Levels Are Rising Way Faster Than We Thought, Says Alarming New Study
We can all thank man-made global warming (aka ourselves) when Tahiti gets wiped off the map. According to a new study released Monday, sea levels rose faster in the past century than they did in the previous 3,000 years.
For the study, titled "Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era," scientists collected a huge database of geological sea-level measurements from marshes, coral atolls and archaeological sites. The measurements gave them an accurate picture of how much sea levels have fluctuated in the past 3,000 years.
And the findings were alarming. The lead author of the study and Rutgers University professor, Robert Kopp, said,
The 20th century rise was extraordinary in the context of the last three millennia — and the rise over the last two decades has been even faster.
For approximately 3,000 years, sea levels stayed relatively steady. Soon after the Industrial Revolution rolled around, however, sea levels began to skyrocket worldwide, says this latest study. Between 1900 and 2000 alone, the ocean rose 5.5 inches, making the biggest impact on low-lying coastal regions.
Elizabeth Kolbert tweeted this handy graph to elucidate how truly devastating these findings are.
It has been known for some time now that rising sea levels directly correlate with rising global temperatures. Burning fossil fuels for energy increases greenhouse gases that trap heat, inevitably warming the entire planet. That warm air causes glaciers to melt, causing sea levels to continue to rise. It's a snowball effect that we're experiencing now, not at some hypothetical later date.
Does this mean we'll finally have enough evidence to fundamentally change our policies to better protect the environment and subsequently ourselves? Probably not fast enough, sadly.
Not unless we all make a concerted effort to change our lifestyles.
Here are a few things you can do to help reverse global warming: