American researchers have claimed that the rise of sea level may be happening at twice the rate previously thought. The news comes via a newly released study conducted by geologists from the University of Colorado in Boulder. The report says that sea levels could rise more than a metre before 2100, whilst 2007 estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted an increase of just half metre.
Geologist Bill Hay, who led the study, told reporters, “What’s missing from the models used to forecast sea-level rise are critical feedbacks that speed everything up,” the Khaleej Times reports.
The feedbacks Hay is referring to include a number factors previously overlooked by scientists, such as the effect created by the melting of the Greenland ice cap and Arctic Sea ice. He said that when the ice melts, it allows more fresh water into the northern oceans, which contributes to an overall increase in temperatures across all the world’s oceans as warmer waters are pushed further into the Arctic.
Another factor not considered in past studies is the mining of groundwater in numerous parts of the world. According to Hay’s report, the water eventually ends up in the seas rather than being stored in the soil, further accelerating the rise in sea levels.
Mr Hay said, however, that the world previously saw dramatic sea level rises of up to 10 metres due to melting ice during the previous interglacial period.