Study: Sea level rising at fastest rate in 2,700 years

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The global sea level likely rose faster last century than it has in at least 2,700 years, researchers concluded in a study out this week. 

The research concluded “with 95 percent probability” that the 14 centimeter rise observed during the 20th century is greater than in any century since at least 800 B.C.,” Rutgers University climate scientist Bob Kopp wrote on his website. 

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The study tied the sea level rise to increasing temperatures brought about by climate change. Assuming the 20th century had seen temperatures no higher than the average of the previous 1,300 years, there is a 95 percent chance the sea level rise would have been half what it actually was, the study found. 

“There's no question that the 20th century is the fastest," Kopp told The Associated Press. ”It's because of the temperature increase in the 20th century which has been driven by fossil fuel use."

The study, a collaborative effort by a team of international scientists, looked at 24 locations around the world to determine the sea levels over the past several centuries. 

The centuries with the fastest sea level increases generally saw an increase of less than 4 centimeters until the Industrial Revolution brought about an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the late 1800s.

The study found other examples of global temperatures and sea levels changing together. Between 1000 and 1400, when global temperatures declined by 0.2 degrees Celsius, sea levels fell by about 8 centimeters around the world. 

In the 20th century, the global sea level rose at a rate of 1.4 millimeters per year, according to the study. Scientists have long warned, though, that has climate change advances, the rate of sea level rise will grow. 

In 2013, United Nations researchers determined that global sea levels would rise between 1 foot and 3 feet by the end of the century. NASA said last year that the sea level has risen an average of 2 inches worldwide since 1991, with agency scientists warning that climate change is likely to ensure sea levels will rise at least 3 feet in the future.