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Wed Jan 2, 2013, 12:56 PM

New study documents the natural relationship between CO2 concentrations and sea level

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/nocs-nsd010213.php
Public release date: 2-Jan-2013

Contact: Catherine Beswick
catherine.beswick@noc.ac.uk
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)

New study documents the natural relationship between CO2 concentrations and sea level

By comparing reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level over the past 40 million years, researchers based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton have found that greenhouse gas concentrations similar to the present (almost 400 parts per million) were systematically associated with sea levels at least nine metres above current levels.

The study determined the 'natural equilibrium' sea level for CO2 concentrations ranging between ice-age values of 180 parts per million and ice-free values of more than 1,000 parts per million.

It takes many centuries for such an equilibrium to be reached, therefore whilst the study does not predict any sea level value for the coming century, it does illustrate what sea level might be expected if climate were stabilized at a certain CO2 level for several centuries.



The researchers found that the natural relationship displays a strong rise in sea level for CO2 increase from 180 to 400 parts per million, peaking at CO2 levels close to present-day values, with sea level at 24 +7/-15 metres above the present, at 68 per cent confidence limits.

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