Team of international scientists studying speleothems in a coastal cave known as Arta cave found that; three million years ago when the world was warmer than pre-industrial era, sea level was 16 metres higher than the present time. These new findings give more insights to the current increase in sea level.
These findings were published in today’s edition of the journal Nature by, Professor Yemane Asmerom and Sr. Research Scientist Victor Polyak from The University of New Mexico, the University of South Florida, Universitat de les Illes Balears and Columbia University. Sea level has been rising due to the melting of ice sheets in Antartica and Greenland but the speed of melting and increase of se level because of this phenomenon is something that scientists are looking more into. Constraining models for sea-level rise due to increased warming critically depends on actual measurements of past sea level,” said Polyak. “This study provides very robust measurements of sea-level heights during the Pliocene.”
This research is done by focusing on cave deposits known as phreatic overgrowths on speleothems. These are formed when the ancient cave is flooded because of rising sea level. “We can use the knowledge gained from past warm periods to tune ice sheet models that are then used to predict future ice sheet response to current global warming,” said USF Department of Geosciences Professor Bogdan Onac.
Sea level changes at Artà Cave can be caused by the melting and growing of ice sheets or by uplift or subsidence of the island itself,” said Columbia University Assistant Professor Jacky Austermann, a member of the research team. Careful analysis with the help of numeric and statistical models was done to find the subsidence or uplift that might have happened since Pliocene. This was later subtracted from the increase of formation they researched. These findings show that the current increase in sea level is in fact because of melting in Antartica and Greenland.