Christian Science Monitor] What do Boston, Miami, and New Orleans have in common? All three may be almost completely underwater someday, if the results of a recent research paper are accurate.
The last time surface ocean temperatures were as warm as they are today, sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher,
according to findings published Friday in the journal Science. Using
data from a wide range of locations, the study was able to measure
regional temperature changes and concluded that recent models may be
underestimating warming trends.
Earth’s climate features cyclical
ice ages, when temperatures drop and ice sheets spread, causing ocean
levels to fall. We currently enjoy the mild climate of what’s known as
an “interglacial period,” when warmer temperatures melt ice, raising the
seas. To better understand how our climate may develop in the future,
experts consider the last interglacial period, 129,000 years ago, to be
of great importance.
a snapshot of what was going on so long ago isn’t easy, but scientists
have a few tricks up their sleeves, such as measuring the makeup of
ancient ice cores. This study used the composition of plankton shells
(which depends on surface temperature) found in ocean sediments from 83
sites worldwide to compare our current interglacial period to the last
While it took a tipping of the planet’s axis
125,000 years to raise ocean temperatures by 0.9 degrees F., as The Los
Angeles Times explained, current conditions have seen similar warming
in less than 50, the paper found. Read More