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Sea level expected to rise faster than predicted

March 10, 2009 |  9:42 am


Not long ago a neighbor told me global warming was a myth invented by Al Gore and fostered by Democrats.

Last I heard she'd moved from the beach to higher ground.

Seriously, the news is getting scarier. Today, scientists at a Copenhagen summit on climate change said sea levels will rise much faster than predicted, perhaps 3 feet by 2100, because of melting polar ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.

Sea levels have been rising about 3 millimeters a year since 1993. An accelerated thaw is alarming for all, but it could be devastating for 600 million people who live in low-lying areas. This includes many coastal areas in the United States.

Eric Rignot, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the BBC: "As a result of the acceleration of outlet glaciers over large regions, the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already contributing more and faster to sea level rise than anticipated."

Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research added: "Based on past experience, I expect that sea level rise will accelerate as the planet gets hotter."

Too bad my neighbor moved. I'd have liked to ask her opinion on this.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Penguin performs an ice dance in Antarctica, where a thaw is occurring at an alarming rate. Credit: Cliff Getz