Sea levels may rise much higher, says fossil studyJuly 16th, 2012 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, July 16 (IANS) Sea levels may rise much higher than previously thought, suggests a new study on fossil corals, which shows how warmer climes in the past promoted dramatic melting of polar ice sheets.Andrea Dutton, formerly of the The Australian National University College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, teamed up with Kurt Lambeck, ANU professor to analyse fossil corals around the world from the last interglacial period, 125,000 years ago.
They built an extensive database by compiling age and elevation data of fossil corals that live near the sea surface, and used a model to factor in the physics of how changing masses of ice sheets would affect regional sea level at the various fossil coral sites, the journal Science reported.
“In this way, we were able to account for the geographic variability in sea level observations from this time period and compute the highest point that average global sea-level attained. The observations from the corals confirmed the sea level patterns that we predicted using the geophysical model,” Dutton, who is currently based at University of Florida, said.
“Sea level change - in the past, present, and future - is geographically variable and we must consider this variability to infer what the average global sea-level was doing in the past. We observed 5.5 to 9 metres of sea level rise,” said Dutton, according to an university statement.
“To explain that, polar ice sheets must have melted: part of Greenland, most of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and perhaps some of the East Antarctic ice sheet. Our findings have important implications for future sea levels,” added Dutton.
“For the period we studied, the poles were probably only three to five degrees warmer than present. That amount of polar warming is well within what we are predicted to reach this century. This implies that the polar ice sheets may be very sensitive to small increases in temperature,” concluded Dutton.
- Sea levels might rise or fall if warming continues - Sep 12, 2011
- Greenland ice melted more than Antartica's - Aug 01, 2011
- Sea level rise may be even more urgent than previously thought - Dec 17, 2009
- Researchers map how ice sheets shrank during Ice Age - Feb 13, 2011
- Warm ocean currents cause ice loss from Antarctica - Apr 26, 2012
- Melting glaciers to contribute 12cm to world sea-level increases by 2100 - Jan 11, 2011
- Ice age to interglacial period: Greatest climate change - Jul 24, 2012
- Scientists pinpoint cause of past sea level rises - Jul 12, 2012
- Fossil corals show catastrophic sea-level rise about 121,000 years ago - Apr 16, 2009
- Global warming could raise sea level by five metres: Scientist - Jul 02, 2009
- Drop in CO2 triggered polar ice sheet formation - Dec 02, 2011
- Global warming curbs won't prevent steep sea rise - Mar 21, 2012
- Evidence from octopus hints at ice sheet collapse - May 10, 2012
- Polar ice melt 'accelerating rapidly, raising sea level' - Mar 09, 2011
- Antarctic ice shelf faces threat from warm waters - May 10, 2012
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