The world’s oceans are rising at triple the speeds of 25 years ago, and scientists are saying that as a result, coastal regions may encounter even greater risks than they ever thought possible.
According to a study published in scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the rising sea levels are threatening coastal regions, but there have been no procedures taken for the protection of these areas, and the damage that may come is likely to have been underestimated.
“The acceleration in global mean sea-level rise is much larger than previously thought,” Sönke Dangendorf, the paper’s lead author, told DW.
“It underlines that sea-level rise is a serious threat,” he added.
Dangendorf lectures at the University of Siegen in Germany, and collaborated with an international team of scientists from Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.
The team found that sea levels rising rate seems slow – about 1.1 millimetres, or 0.04 inches, annually – over the past century; however, the rate of rising has changed in the late 20th century.
Between 1993 and 2012, sea levels rising rates sped up to 3.1 millimeters annually.
It is not the first time that scientists have discovered the dangers of rising sea levels, but what makes this discovery so important is that the rate is increasing far more quickly than anticipated.
Dangendorf told DW that melting of ice sheets over recent decades is one of the most prominent factors to affect the rising sea levels.
“We have always had a great uncertainty over the contribution of the large ice sheets, which store 100 times more sea-level equivalents than glaciers,” Dangendorf said.
“Cities like Miami which are already impacted by sea-level rise will experience much more coastal flooding and much stronger storm surges than have been observed so far,” Dangendorf said.