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Sea Levels Rising Even Faster Now

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Fine-tuning bad news. Recent statistical analysis finds sea levels are rising faster now than at any time in nearly 3,000 years.

Alex DeMetrick reports that's not good news for Maryland.

Maryland is vulnerable to sea level rise on two fronts: the Atlantic and along the Chesapeake Bay. A new study finds world wide...

"The sea level rise that we saw in the last century was really unprecedented in 2,800 years," said Dr. Donald Boesch, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Six inches higher on average but a foot higher in Maryland during the 20th century.

"When we talk about sea level rise, it's not only the seas rising from warmer temperatures but it's also the land sinking," said Kate Scaggs, Department of Natural Resources.

A geologic effect putting land closer to water. It's already creating so-called nuisance flooding that is not the result of storms. In places, it could become a daily event. In Annapolis between 1955 and 1964, there were 32 days of nuisance flooding. Between 2005 and 2014, there were 394 days. And in Maryland...

"We're going to have at least double the sea level rise we saw last century, but it could be quite a bit more," Boesch said.

That would happen if there is not a rapid reduction in the burning of fossil fuels that generate global warming.

Polar ice is already melting faster than expected, adding more water to oceans that expand as they heat up.

For Maryland, if global warming can't be reduced...

"If we don't and we continue to grow our emissions, it's going to be at least three and a half feet and it could be as high as five feet," Boesch said.

By the end of this century, making the vulnerable even more so.

The new analysis of sea level rise closely follows similar studies done in Maryland to help coastal communities prepare for higher water.

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