Horror 10ft sea level rise could happen AGAIN mirroring devastating floods 100,000 years ago
Nature & Science

Horror 10ft sea level rise could happen AGAIN mirroring devastating floods 100,000 years ago

EXTREME sea level rise that happened over 100,000 years ago due to rising ocean temperatures could happen again, according to a new study.

Scientists now think that a mass melting event at the West Antarctic ice sheet was responsible for a significant 3 metre increase in ancient sea levels.

The Antarctic is seeing temperatures reach record levelsCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

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To put this in perspective, a 3 metre sea level rise now would put large amounts of areas like Belfast and Miami underwater.

This is of course not taking into account any flood barriers or other preventative measures that people could try and put in place.

An international study led by UNSW Sydney states that it took less than 2°C of ocean warming to result in the global multi-metre sea level rise.

Their evidence suggests this occurred in a period known as the Last Interglacial, which happened around 129,000 to 116,000 years ago.

The researchers observed volcanic ash trapped in ice to date the melting periodCredit: AntarcticScience.com

Lead author of the study Professor Chris Turney said: “Not only did we lose a lot of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but this happened very early during the Last Interglacial.”

His team was able to pinpoint when the mass melting event took place by dating fine layers of ancient volcanic ash trapped deep in Antarctic ice.

This involved horizontal ice core analysis of ancient ice at the Patriot Hills Blue Ice Area on the edge of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

He added: “The melting was likely caused by less than 2°C ocean warming—and that’s something that has major implications for the future, given the ocean temperature increase and West Antarctic melting that’s happening today.”

The researchers stressed that the West Antarctic is vulnerable to rising ocean temperatures because it’s mostly based on the sea bed and not on land.

Turney explained: “This has been a big concern and is what the concern is in the present day.

“So the question is how much could fall into the ocean and this is where the last interglacial [period] is so important.”

Results from the fieldwork suggest a 3.8 metre rise happened during the first thousand years of a 2°C warmer ocean.

In a simulated model of the events, most of the sea level rise occurred when the ice shelves collapsed within the first 200 years.

The scientists are now concerned that current sea level rise predictions are wrong and the impact on the Antarctic could be worse than we expect.

Turney said: “It means that a large part of the west Antarctic almost certainly disappeared in the last interglacial. It melted. It flowed rapidly into the ocean.”

The Paris Agreement has been signed by countries all over the world that are now aiming to keep global heating below 2°C.

However, the researchers have indicated that getting anywhere close to 2°C would still have disastrous consequences.

Climate change explained

Here are the basic facts…

  • Scientists have lots of evidence to show that the Earth’s climate is rapidly changing due to human activity
  • Climate change will result in problems like global warming, greater risk of flooding, droughts and regular heatwaves
  • Each of the last three decades have been hotter than the previous one and 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have happened during the 21st century
  • The Earth only needs to increase by a few degrees for it to spell disaster
  • The oceans are already warming, polar ice and glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and we’re seeing more extreme weather events
  • In 2015, almost all of the world’s nations signed a deal called the Paris Agreement which set out ways in which they could tackle climate change and try to keep temperatures below 2C

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In other news, an iceberg the size of five Manhattans has broken off a glacier in Antarctica.

Scientists have warned that five global risks threatening Earth at the same time could lead to a “global systemic collapse”.

And, the biggest iceberg on Earth is about to enter the open ocean.

Are you concerned about rising sea levels? Let us know in the comments…


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