The worst-case scenario of catastrophic climate change due to human activities is now being confirmed. This conclusion was reached by scientists from the University of Leeds in the UK and the Danish Meteorological Institute, who estimated the rate of sea level rise over the past 20 years. This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The research is summarized in a press release on EurekAlert !.
According to satellite data, the melting of ice in Antarctica, starting from the 90s of the XX century, raised the level of the world ocean by 7, 2 millimeters, and the destruction of the ice sheet in Greenland - by another 10, 6 millimeters. Measurements show that sea level is now rising by four millimeters per year. The rate of melting of polar ice has increased faster than predicted, overtaking climate models, the researchers said.
Ice sheets alone are expected to contribute an additional 17 centimeters to sea level rise in the future. This will double the frequency of storm surges in many of the world's largest coastal cities.
So far, global ocean levels have been rising in large part through a mechanism called thermal expansion, where the volume of seawater increases as it gets warmer. But over the past five years, the melting of ice from ice sheets and mountain glaciers has become a major cause of sea level rise.