Indian Ocean sea level rise threatens millions -study

Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:02am GMT

The team of researchers in their study used long-term tide gauge data, satellite observations and computer climate models to build a picture of sea level rises in the Indian Ocean since the 1960s.

They found that sea-level rise is particularly high along the coastlines of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java and that these areas could suffer rises greater than the global average.

But they also found that sea levels are falling in other areas. The study indicated that the Seychelles Islands and Zanzibar off Tanzania's coast show the largest sea-level drop.


"Global sea level patterns are not geographically uniform," said co-author Gerald Meehl of NCAR in Boulder, Colorado.

The study is published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

A key player in the process is the Indo-Pacific warm pool, a large oval-shaped area spanning the tropical oceans from the east coast of Africa to the International Date Line in the Pacific.

The pool has warmed by about 0.5 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) over the past 50 years, primarily because of mankind's greenhouse gas emissions. The warmer water has strengthened two major atmospheric circulation patterns that have a major impact on sea levels.

"Our new results show that human-caused atmosphericoceanic circulation changes over the Indian Ocean, which have not been studied previously,contribute to the regional variability of sea-level change," the researchers say in the study.   Continued...

  • Africa
  • US
  • Europe
  • Asia
UK £ USD =1.2818
Euro USD =1.1380
Rand USD =0.0768