LONDON: Ice sheet melting at the end of the last ice age may have caused sea levels to rise at 10 times the current rate, a study published on Thursday by a team led by scientists from Britain’s Durham University said.

Based on geological records, the researchers estimate that oceans worldwide rose 3.6 metres per century over a 500-year period some 14,600 years ago.

The findings raise a red flag about the potential today for rapid sea level rise that could swamp coastal cities and densely populated deltas around the world.

The team found that the approximately 18-metre sea level rising event may have originated primarily from melting ice sheets in the northern hemisphere and not Antarctica as previously thought.

The scientists say their work could offer “vital clues” about future ice sheet melting and sea level rises due to climate change.

“We found that most of the rapid sea-level rise was due to ice sheet melt across North America and Scandinavia, with a surprisingly small contribution from Antarctica,” said the study’s co-author Pippa Whitehouse, of Durham University’s geography department.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2021

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