Scientists looked at sea levels 125,000 years in the past. The results are terrifying

A polar bear wandering on melting pack ice in Canada, north of the Arctic Circle, during the summer 2017. Scientists say the last interglacial offers lessons for future sea level rise. Florian Ledoux/The Nature Conservanc
29 November 2019

Sea levels rose 10 metres above present levels during Earth’s last warm period 125,000 years ago, according to new research that offers a glimpse of what may happen under our current climate change trajectory.

A paper by RSES researchers published in Nature Communications, shows that melting ice from Antarctica was the main driver of sea level rise in the last interglacial period, which lasted about 10,000 years.

Rising sea levels are one of the biggest challenges to humanity posed by climate change, and sound predictions are crucial if we are to adapt.

This research shows that Antarctica, long thought to be the “sleeping giant” of sea level rise, is actually a key player. Its ice sheets can change quickly, and in ways that could have huge implications for coastal communities and infrastructure in future.

Read full story here published in The Conversation by Fiona Hibbert, Eelco Rholing and Katherine Grant.