Study: Sea levels could rise 6 feet per degree of global warming

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LONDON -- Sea levels may rise by more than 6.6 feet for each degree Celsius of global warming over the next 2,000 years, according to a study by researchers in five nations.

The study, published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, attempts to iron out the impact of short-term fluctuations in sea levels, examining changes over a longer term, for which forecasts are more certain.

The findings signal that melting of Antarctic ice will take over from thermal expansion, in which warmer water occupies more space, as the main cause of rising seas. In the worst-case scenario, a temperature gain of 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) would result in seas rising by about 9 meters since industrialization began in the 18th century.

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"Continuous sea-level rise is something we cannot avoid unless global temperatures go down," Anders Levermann, the lead author, said from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. "We need to adapt."

Temperatures already have climbed 0.8 degree Celsius and seas have risen 17 centimeters since the industrial revolution, the UN says. -- Bloomberg News

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