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31.01.2006 Regional News

Acceleration in the rate of sea-level rises - Researchers

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Accra, Jan. 31, GNA - Research by Australian climate scientists has shown that global sea level has been rising at an increasing rate over the past 130 years.

Using information from tide gauges and measurements from satellites, Dr John Church and Dr Neil White estimated changes in global mean sea levels since 1870, according to a statement from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research received in Accra.

The statement said the work of the researchers published in the science journal Geophysical Research Letters on January 6 indicated acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise that had not been detected previously.

"Although predicted by models, this is the first time a 20th century acceleration has actually been detected," Dr Church said. "Our research provides added confidence in sea-level rise projections published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report.

"If the acceleration over the past 130 year period continues, we would expect sea level to be 280mm to 340mm above its 1990 levels by 2100. This is consistent with the projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report." The research indicates that recent sea-level rise began during the first half of the 19th century, when global sea level was about 200mm below the present levels.

"This is consistent with estimates made from sea-level benchmarks carved in rock in Tasmania in 1840 and the height of ancient Roman fish tanks, implying that there had been little net change in sea level from the first century AD to 1800 AD," Dr Church said. Dr Church said earlier estimates of 20th century sea-level rise had depended on averaging the rates of rise from a limited number of long-term tide gauge records and that the variability in these records made acceleration difficult to detect. It was during the same study that Dr Church discovered fluctuations in sea-level rise following volcanic activity, notably the post-1960 eruptions of Mt Agung, Mt Chichon and Mt Pinatubo. 31 Jan. 06