The researchers, led by Kenneth G. Miller, professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, reached their conclusion by studying rock and soil cores in Virginia, Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific and New Zealand.
Miller said, however, that this research highlights the sensitivity of the earth's great ice sheets to temperature change, suggesting that even a modest rise in temperature results in a large sea-level rise. "The natural state of the earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 20 meters higher than at present," he said.
Miller was joined in the research by Rutgers colleagues James G. Wright, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences; James V. Browning, assistant research professor of earth and planetary sciences; Yair Rosenthal, professor of marine science in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; Sindia Sosdian, research scientist in marine science and a postdoctoral scholar at Cardiff University in Wales; and Andrew Kulpecz, a Rutgers doctoral student when the work was done, now with Chevron Corp.
Other co-authors were Michelle Kominz, professor of geophysics and basin dynamics at Western Michigan University; Tim R. Naish, director of the Antarctic Research Center at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand; Benjamin S. Cramer of Theiss Research in Eugene, Ore.; and W. Richard Peltier, professor of physics and director of the Center for Global Change Science at the University of Toronto.
Ken Branson | EurekAlert!
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