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MIAMI: Sea levels are rising around the world, and the latest satellite data suggests that three feet (one meter) or more is unavoidable in the next 100-200 years, NASA scientists said Wednesday.
Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than ever, and oceans are warming and expanding much more rapidly than they have in years past.
Rising seas will have "profound impacts" around the world, said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division.
"More than 150 million people, most of them in Asia, live within one meter of present sea level," he said.
Low-lying US states such as Florida are at risk of disappearing, as are some of the world's major cities such as Singapore and Tokyo.
"It may entirely eliminate some Pacific island nations," he said.
There is no doubt that global coastlines will look very different in years to come, US space agency experts told reporters on a conference call to discuss the latest data on sea level rise.
"Right now we have committed to probably more than three feet (one meter) of sea level rise, just based on the warming we have had so far," said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder and leader of NASA's sea level rise team
It will very likely get worse in the future," he told reporters.
"The biggest uncertainty is predicting how quickly the polar ice sheets will melt."