Science Advances

IT - Sicily Islands' Sea-Level Rise - Once a Large Landmass? | IE Interesting Engineering

Human society typically adapts to sea-level rise, which will likely happen amid our climate crisis.

The islands of Sicily were initially one landmass, according to a recent studypublished in the journal Science Advances — which shows how when sea levels rise, human populations typically adapt to changes rather than simply abandon them, as common sense might suggest.


Isles of Sicily once giant single landmass before sea-level rise divided it

The average sea level is rising roughly 0.14 inches/year (3.6 mm/year) — an unprecedented rate of rise for millennia, according to the study. But the distribution of this rise in terms of volume isn't the same worldwide. This means some regions will see a greater rise in sea-level than the average, which makes them especially vulnerable to the hazards of submersion.

The climate crisis combined with a continuing rise in sea level will mean the high-end outliers of worldwide flooding will be extreme — since some areas inevitably see worse weather than others.

Despite projected global and regional sea-level changes becoming more constrained, no one can fully predict how cultural and behavioral norms may shift. Future coastal flood risk to human populations — combined with projected migration patterns are typically based on environmental thresholds — ones lacking a defined limit of adaptation driven via culture and the perception of risk in human societies.

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