Study: Future sea level rise may be uneven

Feb. 19, 2013 at 7:58 PM
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LONDON, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Sophisticated computer models shows sea-level rise over the coming century may be uneven, affecting some regions far more than others, European scientists say.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers say parts of the Pacific will see the highest rates of rise while some polar regions will actually experience falls in relative sea levels due to the ways sea, land and ice interact globally.

Ice melt from glaciers and the Greenland and antarctic ice sheets is likely to be of critical importance to regional sea-level change in the equatorial Pacific Ocean where the sea level rise would be greater than the average increase across the globe, they wrote.

"In the paper we are successful in defining the patterns, known as sea level fingerprints, which affect sea levels," researcher Giorgio Spada of Italy's University of Urbino said.

"This is paramount for assessing the risk due to inundation in low-lying, densely populated areas. The most vulnerable areas are those where the effects combine to give the sea-level rise that is significantly higher than the global average."

In the study computer models looked ahead as far as 2100 to determine how ice loss will add to rising sea levels, the researchers said.

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