Two new reports released last week show that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are increasing and sea levels are rising more quickly than they have for thousands of years thanks to increased development around the world during the 20th century.
One report in the journal Science by a Rutgers University team found that sea levels have risen twice as fast in the last 150 years as in the previous millennium. The Rutgers researchers believe that although the planet is in a naturally occurring warmer phase, human industrial and transportation activities have in essence doubled the effect. “Half of the current rise was going on anyway. But that means half of what’s going on is not background. It’s human induced,” said Kenneth Miller, a Rutgers geology professor who spearheaded the 15-year study.
Meanwhile, another report released simultaneously in Science by European researchers found that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising 200 times faster than any previously recorded increase. “The study does not directly address global warming. But what we provide is an important new baseline for the climate models with which we investigate global warming,” says Thomas Stocker, a professor of climate and environmental physics at the University of Bern in Switzerland and lead author of the European report.