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Warming Seas Rising Faster Than Predicted, NASA Scientists Say

  • Three feet of sea-level rise is likely 'unavoidable'
  • Report cites new analysis, data from NASA satellites
People walk beside the sea on the Jomtien Beach area of Pattaya, Chonburi province, Thailand.
Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Global sea levels are rising faster than predicted as a result of warming temperatures driven by burning fossil fuels, according to researchers who now say an increase of at least 3 feet (1 meter) is likely “unavoidable.”

The world’s oceans, expanding due to added heat and melting ice, have risen an average of almost 3 inches since 1992, with some areas seeing an increase of as much as 9 inches, NASA scientists said at a briefing Wednesday that cited new satellite data. Heat already stored in the sea means further sea level rise is almost certain, although how quickly remains unclear, according to a statement from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.