Scientists say rise in Mediterranean sea-level accelerating

February 26, 2011SPAIN – “The sea level in the Mediterranean has risen by between 1 and 1.5 millimeters each year since 1943, but this does not seem set to continue, because it now seems that the speed at which it rises is accelerating”, Manuel Vargas Yáñez, main author of the book Cambio Climático en el Mediterráneo Español, and researcher in the Spanish Oceanography Institute (IEO), tells SINC. The publication, which in its second edition includes, for the first time, climate figures from 1943 to 2008 using a marine observation system which is unique in Spain and pioneering in Europe, confirms that the Mediterranean is becoming warmer. Its salinity is also increasing, and the rise in sea level is accelerating. Since the start of the 21st century the level has already risen by 20 centimeters. However, “during the last three years which were added to the study (from 2005 to 2008) the rise in temperatures has been slower than at the end of the 20th century, when the sea temperatures rose significantly”, points out Vargas Yáñez, who insists on the necessity to study long series of figures to show the impact of climate change in the Mediterranean. According to the book, presented today in Malaga by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the IEO to mark the third anniversary of SINC, the changes which occurred in the temperatures are not only due to the effects of climate change, but also to natural and “normal” atmospheric changes. “These are changes which are always going to happen; the atmosphere and oceans are chaotic systems”, explains the expert. –
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