- Sea level rise is often attributed to climate change, which is responsible for the thermal expansion of the seas and accelerated glacial melt.
- Researchers from the US Geological Survey have recently shown that another source, groundwater abstraction, may in fact contribute to sea level rise. By studying groundwater levels in 46 aquifers the researchers were able to estimate a worldwide abstraction of 4500 cubic kilometres over the past 100 years – an equivalent 1.26 cm rise in sea levels.
- With sea level rising 17cm over this period, this contribution would seem insignificant, but groundwater abstraction rates are dramatically increasing.
This research puts into perspective the scale of groundwater abstraction. For the UK, aquifer management will be crucial for ensuring adequate flows for an ever growing population and agricultural sector.
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