Fears that sea levels will be rising 1cm a year by 2100
Sea levels are increasing at an accelerating rate that could see them rising by a whole centimetre per year by 2100, research has shown.
The end-of-century surge rate would put many low-lying regions of the world at risk of flooding, including coastal cities such as Miami and Shanghai.
Scientists analysing 25 years of satellite data discovered that global sea level is not rising at a steady 3mm per year, as previously thought. Instead, the rate of increase is speeding up, adding an extra 0.08mm with every passing year.
If the trend continues, it is likely to lead to an annual average sea-level rise of at least 1cm per year by 2100.
Lead scientist Professor Steve Nerem, from the University of Colorado Boulder, in the US, said: "This acceleration, driven mainly by accelerated melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise by 2100."
The new research was published in the journal 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences'.