Monday, January 23, 2017

Prehistoric Alert for Future Sea Level

Warning for coastal cities as research shows that it is 120,000 years since the global sea level was substantially higher than it is now.

Coastal flooding in the US capital, Washington D.C. (Image Credit: Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño) Click to Enlarge.
The prehistoric past may have just delivered an ominous warning for the future.  Around 120,000 years ago, global average temperatures were roughly the same as they are now − and the global mean sea level was at least six meters and possibly nine meters higher than at present.

If that sea level was replicated, it would be enough to drown much of New York, London, Miami, Shanghai, Amsterdam, or any other great coastal city.

At the last count 634 million people were living at sea level or no higher than 10 meters above it, on the coastal plains of Bangladesh, China, Guyana, Egypt, Vietnam, Gambia, Netherlands, the Nile delta, and many more areas.

But it is not certain that prehistory will repeat itself:  what happened during a warm spell in the last Ice Age is at the moment no more than a guide to what could happen in centuries to come.
“The study suggests that, in the long term, sea level will rise six meters at least in response to the warming we are causing.

“The good news is that, with luck, it will continue to rise slowly, so that we have time to adapt, but the bad news is that eventually all our present coastal city locations will be inundated.”

Read more at Prehistoric Alert for Future Sea Level

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