The New York Times says global warming and sea level rise isn't just a threat in the future -- it was a fact in the past.
A new article says the amount of sea level rise could be much higher, and happen much faster, than previously believed. And if past changes are any clue, the sea levels could get pretty high:
In previous research, scientists have determined that when the earth warms by only a couple of degrees Fahrenheit, enough polar ice melts, over time, to raise the global sea level by about 25 to 30 feet. But in the coming century, the earth is expected to warm more than that, perhaps four or five degrees, because of human emissions of greenhouse gases.
Experts say the emissions that may make a huge increase of sea level inevitable are expected to occur in just the next few decades. They fear that because the world’s coasts are so densely settled, the rising oceans will lead to a humanitarian crisis lasting many hundreds of years.
This issue is critically important to the Tampa Bay region. Much of south Tampa, St. Petersburg and the Pinellas beaches would be flooded with just a few feet of sea level rise (see attached slideshow.)
It's the topic of a March event at Eckerd College: “Sea Level Rise in Florida: Mitigation, Adaptation or Retreat?”