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16 February 2010

Predicting Changes In Global Sea Level

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10 percent of the world's population lives within 10 meters of sea level. Currently, climate models including those produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predict a 50 centimeter to possibly over one meter rise in sea level over the next 100 years, posing a threat to inhabitants of low-lying coastal communities around the world

To better understand what drives changes in sea level and how humans are affecting this change, scientists are looking to our past for answers and are digging back as far as 35 million years into the Earth's history to understand these dynamic processes.

During the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program's (IODP) Canterbury Basin Sea Level Expedition 317 off the coast of New Zealand, an international team of 34 scientists and 92 support staff and crew on board the scientific drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution (JR) broke records while investigating sea level change in a region called the "Canterbury Basin."

From November 4, 2009 to January 4, 2010, the research team drilled four sites in the seafloor, where one site marked the deepest hole drilled by the JR on the continental shelf (1,030 meters (m)) and another was the deepest hole drilled on a single expedition in the history of scientific ocean drilling (1,927 m).


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