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Home » Accelerated rise of South China Sea level blamed on global warming

Accelerated rise of South China Sea level blamed on global warming

Accelerated rise of South China Sea level blamed on global warming

Experts warn of millions of climate refugees and the disruption of economic growth in the region.

The water level in the South China Sea has risen by 152mm since 1900, Chinese researchers have found, and the rate has accelerated in accordance with global warming.

A study published in the April issue of the Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology magazine said that the sea level in the South China Sea fell slightly from 1850-1900 period, but has continuously risen by 1.31mm per year on average for a total increase of 152mm (± 7 mm) from 1900-2015.

Researchers from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reconstructed the history of the South China Sea's sea-level shift using Porites coral, a widespread coral with a high growth rate, clear annual growth layer and sensitive response to the change of seawater environment.

The coral’s oxygen stable isotopes are an ideal proxy to indicate sea-level, they said.

The researchers analyzed the correlation between the oxygen stable isotopes of Porites coral, sea-surface salinity, and temperature, as well as the rainfall in the South China Sea; and then quantitatively reconstructed the annual sea-level record.

The study found that the sea-level rise in the South China Sea may be the result of a combination of solar activity and greenhouse gases; and human-caused global warming may have been the dominant factor behind the current rapid rise of sea level.

“Clearly the findings of this study show the global community will have to do more to slow climate change, but we already knew climate change would cause the sea level to rise, threatening the coastlines of a number of countries – including minimally Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam,” said Murray Hiebert, a senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.


Experts warn of millions of climate refugees and the disruption of economic growth in the region.
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