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EU research reveals sea level rises around Europe

Recent results from research carried out under the Community's Environment and Climate programme reveal a rise in sea surface levels around the coasts of the European Union at an average rate of 1 to 1.5 millimetres per year.

The results from the EU projects show that the bro...
Recent results from research carried out under the Community's Environment and Climate programme reveal a rise in sea surface levels around the coasts of the European Union at an average rate of 1 to 1.5 millimetres per year.

The results from the EU projects show that the broad pattern of relative rise which is observed cannot be explained by vertical land movements only. In particular, it cannot be excluded to be the consequence, at least in part, of a melting of ice sheets and glaciers due to regional and/or global warming. In the context of the current discussions on climate change, it is therefore of the utmost importance to identify the main cause for the observed sea level rise.

Close monitoring of these changes is also essential for the sustainable development and management of the coastal zone. In the European Union, the coastline is about 89,000 kms long and 68 million people could be affected by sea level changes.

In its proposal for the Fifth Framework Programme, which will cover all EU research efforts for the period 1998-2002, the Commission has proposed, at the initiative of Mrs. Cresson, Commissioner responsible for research, innovation, education, training and youth, to devote increased attention to the issues of global climate change, including its regional consequences.

Commenting on these developments, Mrs. Cresson underlined the advantages of addressing this issue at European level, making use of the expertise available in the different countries. Mrs. Cresson also stated that the Union has the responsibility to ensure that all current scientific and technological knowledge is exploited to tackle problems such as this, which have a huge potential impact, not just at European level but globally.

This new research concerning sea-level rise in Europe met with great interest during the recent meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held in The Maldives on 22-26 September 1997.

Source: European Commission, DG XII

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