February 12, 2010 Sea Caves Reveal Rapid Rise in Ancient Ocean Levels
Sea levels can rise and fall fast, even during an ice age, according to new research
By David BielloScientific American
.....So a team of geologists set out to identify sea level changes over the course of the past 135,000 years by collecting rock samples from six formations at various levels in five different caves. The researchers found that sea levels were roughly 1 meter higher than present 81,000 years ago when the world was thought to be experiencing an ice age that should have locked up water in glacial ice, thereby lowering sea level as much as 30 meters.
More disturbingly, the record suggests that sea level can rise or fall as fast as two meters a century—nearly 12 times as fast as sea level rise in the past 100 years and indicating the potential for a meter of sea-level rise within one human lifetime. "This has major implications for future concerns with sea-level change," says geoscientist Jeffrey Dorale of the University of Iowa, lead author of the new research published in the February 12 issue of Science. "Our study indicates rapid rates of ice melting and ice formation. The mechanisms underlying these dramatic changes need further consideration as we look to a future of impending climate changes."
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