Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global sea level likely to rise as much as 70 feet for future generations

Date:
March 19, 2012
Source:
Rutgers University
Summary:
Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to new research.

Sea levels won't get as high as depicted in this fanciful image for a long time. But a substantial rise is inevitable, Rutgers scientists say.
Credit: Alaska-Tom / Fotolia

Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology.

The researchers, led by Kenneth G. Miller, professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, reached their conclusion by studying rock and soil cores in Virginia, Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific and New Zealand. They looked at the late Pliocene epoch, 2.7 million to 3.2 million years ago, the last time the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was at its current level, and atmospheric temperatures were 2 degrees C higher than they are now.

"The difference in water volume released is the equivalent of melting the entire Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, as well as some of the marine margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet," said H. Richard Lane, program director of the National Science Foundation's Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the work. "Such a rise of the modern oceans would swamp the world's coasts and affect as much as 70 percent of the world's population."

"You don't need to sell your beach real estate yet, because melting of these large ice sheets will take from centuries to a few thousand years," Miller said. "The current trajectory for the 21st century global rise of sea level is 2 to 3 feet (0.8 to1 meter) due to warming of the oceans, partial melting of mountain glaciers, and partial melting of Greenland and Antarctica."

Miller said, however, that this research highlights the sensitivity of Earth's great ice sheets to temperature change, suggesting that even a modest rise in temperature results in a large sea-level rise. "The natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 20 meters higher than at present," he said.

Miller was joined in the research by Rutgers colleagues James G. Wright, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences; James V. Browning, assistant research professor of earth and planetary sciences; Yair Rosenthal, professor of marine science in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; Sindia Sosdian, research scientist in marine science and a postdoctoral scholar at Cardiff University in Wales; and Andrew Kulpecz, a Rutgers doctoral student when the work was done, now with Chevron Corp. Other co-authors were Michelle Kominz, professor of geophysics and basin dynamics at Western Michigan University; Tim R. Naish, director of the Antarctic Research Center at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand; Benjamin S. Cramer of Theiss Research in Eugene, Ore.; and W. Richard Peltier, professor of physics and director of the Center for Global Change Science at the University of Toronto.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers University. "Global sea level likely to rise as much as 70 feet for future generations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319134202.htm>.
Rutgers University. (2012, March 19). Global sea level likely to rise as much as 70 feet for future generations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319134202.htm
Rutgers University. "Global sea level likely to rise as much as 70 feet for future generations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319134202.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Was The Biggest Climate March In History Underreported?

Was The Biggest Climate March In History Underreported?

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The People's Climate March in New York City drew more than 300,000 people, possibly a record-breaking number. Was the march underreported? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins