Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How sea levels have changed throughout the history?

Many scientists predict that climate change impact will significantly increase global sea levels, and this scenario, if it happens, will cause tremendous damage to many coastal areas around the globe. These are of course still only scientific predictions but much can be also learn from history by determining how were sea levels changing throughout the history. Scientists believe that the best indicators that can tell us many things about how sea levels have changed throughout the history are corals.

The fossilized coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef could give scientists answers about how sea levels were changing in the last 20000 years or so. The Great Barrier Reef is about 500,000 years old, and coral have growth rings that show seasonal variations which can not only shed the light on the size of past sea levels but also on sea temperatures, and many other interesting things.

Basically, corals drown when it becomes too deep for them, and the team of international scientists  will collect core samples of fossilized coral that developed between 20,000 to 10,000 years ago.

Scientists believe that there were three main periods in which there was accelerated sea level rise: 19,000, 13,800 and 11,300 years ago, and it will be interesting to see whether core samples will confirm this theory or not.

In any case the data that will be collected from this research could give us some vital information that can be used for better future sea level rise predictions. Like the old saying goes future can always learn something from the past.

Core samples of fossilized coral could give scientists an answer about how sea levels have changed throughout the history.
Great Barrier Reef.