Study: Scientists have detected an acceleration in sea level rise

This articles discusses the evidence that sea level rise is accelerating.

Just recently, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a paper has been published that collects all the available satellite altimetry data and asks whether the sea level rise is accelerating. The authors of the paper are a well-respected team and include Dr. Steven Nerem from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and Dr. John Fasullo, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

While in any given year ocean levels may rise a bit or fall a bit, the authors focused on the long-term trend (the white line in the graph). They found that the long-term trend is, indeed, accelerating. The rate of acceleration is approximately 0.084 mm per year per year. That may not sound like much, but were this rate of acceleration to continue (a conservative estimate), the authors project that by the end of the century oceans with rise approximately 65 cm (more than two feet).

It is expected that by the year 2100, the ocean levels will rise a few feet by the end of the century. This matters a lot because globally, 150 million people live within three feet of current ocean levels. We have built our modern infrastructure based on current ocean levels. What happens to peoples’ homes and infrastructure when the waters rise?

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