Climate change speeding up sea level rise

US cities

Climate change has accelerated sea level rise and the rate at which it is rising is increasing every year, a study citing satellite data has revealed.

Researchers, led by the University of Colorado-Boulder professor of aerospace engineering sciences Steve Nerem, used the data dating back to 1993 to observe the levels of the world’s oceans, reports CNN.

Using satellite data rather than tide-gauge data that is normally used to measure sea levels allows for more precise estimates of global sea level, since it provides measurements of the open ocean.

The team observed a total rise in the ocean of 7 cm in 25 years of data, which aligns with the generally accepted current rate of sea level rise of about 3 mm per year, according to a study released on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But that rate was not constant.

Continuous emissions of greenhouse gases are warming the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans and melting its ice, causing the rate of sea level rise to increase, CNN reported.

“This acceleration, driven mainly by accelerated melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise by 2100 as compared to projections that assume a constant rate, to more than 60 cm instead of about 30,” said Nerem.

Sea level rise of 65 cm would cause significant problems for coastal cities around the world. Extreme water levels, such as high tides and surges from strong storms, would be made exponentially worse.