New estimate of ancient sea level rise

Dec. 1, 2010 at 8:55 PM
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SOUTHAMPTON, England, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- British researchers say sea levels rose about 3 feet per century at the end of the last Ice Age but rose by as much as 8 feet per century at times.

Global sea level rose by a total of almost 400 feet as the vast ice sheets of the last Ice Age melted back from about 19,000 years to about 6,000 years ago, scientists at the University of Southampton said.

The researchers brought together about 400 high-quality sea-level markers from study sites around the globe and used an extensive series of sophisticated statistical tests to reconstructed sea-level history of the last 21,000 years,

"Rather than relying on individual sites that may not be representative, we have compared large amounts of data from many different sites, taking into account all potential sources of uncertainty," Professor Eelco Rohling of the university's School of Ocean and Earth Science said.

"Our estimates of rates of sea-level rise are lower than those estimated from individual study sites, but they are statistically robust and therefore greatly improve our understanding of loss of ice volume due to the melting of the ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age," lead author Jennifer Stanford said.

"The new findings will be used to refine models of the Earth climate system, and will thus help to improve forecasts of future sea-level responses to global climate change," Rohling said.

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