Sea level is higher now and is rising much more rapidly than at any other time in the past 3 000 years. We know that sea level will continue to rise for many centuries, even after global temperatures are stabilized, as it takes that long for the ocean and ice sheets to respond fully to a warmer climate. Unchecked global warming is likely to raise sea level by several metres in coming centuries, leading to the loss of many coastal cities and entire island states. This longer-term threat is already being exacerbated by increased frequency of short-term extreme sea levels due to the superposition of tides and storm surges on rising mean sea level.
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