Sea levels around the world have risen by an average of nearly 3 inches since 1992, with some areas experiencing a rise of more than 9 inches, according to a NASA analysis of satellite observations.
Experts say that changes in sea level vary widely around the world due to local conditions, but climate change is the main driver.
Scientists estimate about a third of the rise is due to expansion caused by warming oceans, while the remainder is evenly divided between ice loss of the massive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and the melting of mountain glaciers.
NASA scientists told a press conference that they now have data to help planners determine what coastal areas will be threatened by sea level rises over the next century.
NASA says rises of up to 3 feet during that period are “unavoidable.”
Even today, normal spring high tides cause street flooding in sections of Miami, something that didn’t happen regularly just a few decades ago.
About the only promising development to come out of the conflict-ravaged Middle East in the past few years is a pronounced drop in greenhouse gas emissions.
With untold thousands of refugees fleeing to Europe from Syria and Iraq, the shattered economies they leave behind are in no shape to burn the volume of fossil fuels they did prior to the onset of the Syrian civil war.
Nitrogen dioxide emissions have plunged 40 percent over Damascus and 50 percent over Aleppo since Arab Spring protests reached Syria in 2011.
Writing in the journal Science Advances, Jos Lelieveld of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemistry says the cleaner air observed by atmospheric monitoring from space is due to “international boycotts, armed conflict and related mass migration of people.”
But he adds that air pollution reductions instituted by neighboring Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have also contributed to the region’s overall drop in carbon emissions.
This graphic of nitrogen dioxide measurements from space illustrates the trend toward less greenhouse gas emissions.