End Of The World Watch
END OF THE WORLD WATCH:
If the acceleration continues at the current rate, the scientists warn that sea levels could rise during this century by between 28 and 34cm.
Dr John Church, a scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation based in Tasmania and an author of the study, said that higher sea levels could have grave effects on some areas.
"It means there will be increased flooding of low-lying areas when there are storm surges," he told the Associated Press.
"It means increased coastal erosion on sandy beaches; we're going to see increased flooding on island nations."
There is now a consensus among climate scientists that rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are the major factor behind rising temperatures.
Increased temperatures can lead to higher sea-levels through several mechanisms including the melting of glaciers and thermal expansion of sea water.
Through the 1997 Kyoto protocol, industrialised countries have committed to cut their combined emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. But the US and Australia have withdrawn from the treaty.
Dr Church urged: ""We do have to reduce our emissions but we also have to recognise climate change is happening, and we have to adapt as well."