A 2017 study published in the journal Science has discovered that current sea surface temperatures are now very similar to those of the last interglacial period. Interglacial periods often last for centuries and occur when the Earth’s surface is exposed to higher amounts of solar radiation, increased temperature and higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Such conditions typically are accompanied by decreases in ice volume, resulting in higher sea levels. According to the research, sea levels during the last interglacial period were between six and nine meters higher than today. The study also provided strong evidence that the continental ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are extremely sensitive even to small increases in ocean temperature.
Based on marine core records procured from 83 sites, the findings indicate that sea levels will continue rising if nothing is done to reduce carbon emissions. One net result is likely to be a new interglacial episode.