A new research conducted by a scientific consortium from the University of Tasmania in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization released new data concerning the alarming rising sea-levels.
The results were published in the Nature Climate Change journal and were consistent with results and projections of other studies documenting for instance the rapidly advancing retreat of great ice masses near the Earth’s poles.
Analyzing two sets of data, the consortium reached the conclusion that research results of the past two decades have been partly erroneous. One set comprised satellite data compiled from three joint satellite missions launched by the French Space Agency and NASA. The second set of data comprised records of tidal gauges around the world.
In confronting the two sets, it was discovered that biases interfered so far. The sea-level rise occurring during the 1990’s was overstated, while the rate of increase since 1999 was underestimated.
The Fifth Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) showed that in the period between 1993 and 2010, the global mean sea level rose by an average of 3.2 mm per year. Previously, it evaluated the rising of sea-levels at an average of 1.7 mm in the period between 1901 and 2010.
However, what these studies failed to take into account was the vertical land motion, a natural movement that may happen through subsidence, uplift or earthquakes. Satellite observations alone do not feature vertical land motion.
And while tidal gauges alone are also not a measurement for the real figures, all the data corroborated by the consortium indicated that the trends differ slightly from what was previously known. Adjustments were made to accommodate the changes and the following results issued. The average sea-level rise between 1993 and 2014 was established at 2.6 to 2.9 mm, down from previous assessments that placed it at 3.2 mm. At the same time, the average rate of sea-level rise between 2004 and 2014 was estimated to be 0.4 mm per year faster than between 1994 and 2004.
At this rate, global sea levels increase as a result of global warming poses a real threat to low-lying coastal populations. An excerpt from the IPCC reads:
“Accelerating sea level is a massive issue for the coastal zone — the once-in-a-lifetime inundation events will become far more frequent, and adaptation will need to occur. Agencies need to fully consider the impact of accelerating sea level and plan accordingly.”
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