Even if humans are able to limit global warming to just 2 degrees celsius (3.6 F), which is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, ocean sea levels would still eventually rise anywhere from 12-22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than what they are currently, according to new research from Rutgers University.
No need to panic yet, this sea level rise would take centuries to a few thousand years to occur.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The team looked at rock and soil cores from the late Pliocene epoch (2.7 to 3.2 million years ago), which was the last time that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were as high as the current level. Keep in mind, atmospheric temperatures during that period were about 2 degrees celsius warmer than what they are now, according to the EurekAlert press release..
A Glacier. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
In terms of this century, the report says that the global sea level rise would range from 0.8 to 1.0 meter (2 to 3 feet) by 2100, which would still cause a lot of problems for millions in low-lying coastal areas.
"The natural state of the earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 20 meters higher than at present," said Kenneth G. Miller, professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University and lead researcher of this study.
The research was published in the journal Geology.
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