Sea levels could increase around 20 feet at the very least above the current levels if the current trend of climate continues, according to a new study analyzing 30 years of research on the historic effects of melting polar ice sheets.
Global mean sea level rise of 20 feet could be catastrophic to the hundreds of millions of people living in these coastal zones, the study, published in the journal Science, said.
The researchers saw that global sea levels has increased to around 20 feet above the levels right now on multiple occasions over the past 3 million years.
The amount of melting was caused by an increase of only one-two degrees Celsius in global mean temperatures which is the most concerning thing.
The results give a hint that even if the world manages to put a stop to global warming at two degree Celsius rise which, in fact, is what the world is trying to achieve as per the current climate negotiations, sea levels may still increase to 20 feet, Climate Central reported.
The seas rose in response to melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, said lead author Andrea Dutton from University of Florida.
“As the planet warms, the poles warm even faster, raising important questions about how ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will respond,” Dutton said.
“While this amount of sea-level rise will not happen overnight, it is sobering to realise how sensitive the polar ice sheets are to temperatures that we are on path to reach within decades.”
The researchers gave their verdict that sea levels rose 20-30 feet higher than present around 125,000 years ago when global average temperature was one degree more from the pre-industrial levels.
Sea level increase somewhere between 20 and 40 feet above present during an earlier warm period of 400,000 years ago when the global average temperatures are less certain, but were calculated to roughly be one or two degree Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial average.