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Scientists used fossils to reconstruct sea levels over the past two millenia on the US Atlantic coast and found they are now rising faster than at any time in the past 2100 years. By comparing the results to changes in global surface temperature, experts established a consistent link between higher temperatures and rising tides. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the sea level remained fairly stable between 200BC until 1000AD.

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Professor Benjamin Horton, director of the Sea Level Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania University, said: “Sea-level rise is a potentially disastrous outcome of climate change, as rising temperatures melt land-based ice and warm ocean waters." Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, one of the report’s co-authors, said the findings backed up estimates by the group in 2009 that the sea level would rise by 75-90cm between 1990 and 2100. “It reinforces our projections…the rise accelerates because of the principle that the warmer it gets, the faster the sea level rises,” he said.