A research team led by scientists from Durham University in the United Kingdom said in a study published on Thursday that at the end of the last ice age, melting ice sheets could cause sea levels to rise 10 times.
Based on the geological record, researchers estimate that the world’s oceans rose 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) every century in 500 years approximately 14,600 years ago.
These discoveries give people a red flag about the potential of today’s rapid sea level rise, and sea levels may rise rapidly, potentially flooding coastal cities and the world’s densely populated deltas.
The research team found that the approximately 18-meter sea level rise event may have come mainly from the melting of the ice sheet in the northern hemisphere, rather than Antarctica as previously thought.
Scientists say their work may provide “important clues”
The co-author of the study, Pippa Whitehouse of the Department of Geography at Durham University, said: “We found that most of the rapid rise in sea level is caused by melting ice sheets in North America and Scandinavia. The contribution of Antarctica is very small.”
“The next big question is to find out the cause of the ice melting and the impact of the massive amount of melt water on the North Atlantic ocean currents.
“Today, this is very important in our minds. For example, any damage to the Gulf Stream caused by the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet will have a significant impact on the British climate.”
Current models used by many climate scientists estimate that global sea levels may rise by 1-2 meters by the end of this century.
Durham researchers used detailed geological sea level data and the latest modeling techniques to reveal the root cause of the sharp rise in sea levels in the 5th century.
They say that compared to melting the ice sheet twice the size of Greenland, it caused flooding of large tracts of low-lying land, disrupted ocean circulation, and had a knock-on effect on the global climate.
“Our research includes new information from lakes near the coast of Scotland that have been isolated from the ocean due to land uplift due to the retreat of the British ice sheet, allowing us to confidently determine the source of the meltwater,” added co-author Lin Yucheng. Durham (Durham) Geography Department is in charge.
The research team added that identifying the source of meltwater will help improve the accuracy of climate models used to replicate the past and predict future changes.
They pointed out that these findings are particularly timely as the Greenland ice sheet melts rapidly and promotes sea level rise and global ocean circulation changes.
In 2019, Greenland discharged more than 0.5 trillion tons of ice and melt water, accounting for 40% of the total sea level rise that year.