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"Water Mark" -- The Discovery Files

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According to research results from scientists at Rutgers University, future generations will likely witness sea levels rise between 40 and 70 feet higher than at present even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Deep Thoughts.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

An international team led by scientists at Rutgers University is looking at the likely level of future sea-level rise by studying core samples that tell of sea levels in earth's past (Sound effect: ocean)--rock and soil samples that date back around three million years--to the Pliocene Epoch. That was the last time earth's CO2 levels were similar to today's, but atmospheric temps back then were 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer.

The samples were taken from 3 locales: Virginia, New Zealand and Eniwetok Atoll in the north pacific. They suggest that with the earth's current atmospheric level of carbon dioxide and a temperature rise of 3.6 degrees--anticipated due to global warming--sea levels will be 40 to 70 feet higher.

The Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and part of the East Antarctic ice sheet, will likely melt, swamping the world's coasts, and affecting up to 70 percent of the world's population. But the researchers caution you not to sell your beachfront property just yet. These changes could take over a thousand years when the big blue marble could be a lot less 'marble' and a lot more 'blue'.

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's national science foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at or on our podcast.

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