Study Suggests Greater Sea Level Rise

According to a new study in Nature, unchecked global warming may
bring greater sea level rise than previously projected.

Unless global warming is
limited, sea level rise in centuries ahead may leave significant parts of
Florida, southern Manhattan, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands underwater.

Researchers at Harvard and
Princeton universities studied earth's last ‘warm' period 125,000 years ago,
the Eemian stage-considered similar to current conditions, though contemporary
warming trends are driven by carbon pollution. They found that, contrary to
previous analyses, sea levels during the period "almost certainly"
peaked at more than 22 feet higher than modern levels, and probably hit a mark
somewhere between 26 and 30 feet.

Scientists say conditions at
the North and South Poles, crucial in ice melt, could return to Eemian levels
if the global temperature rises about 4 degrees, a virtual certainty if global
warming continues unchecked.

If polar regions reach those
conditions again, ice masses in Greenland and Antarctica "are at risk of
large-scale disintegration," said Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton, an
author of the study. "We may be locking in this (future) event by the
temperatures we reach this century."

Published: December 22, 2009