Toronto: The sea levels in the central Indian Ocean have risen by close to a metre in the last two centuries, according to a study.
The research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, provides new details about sea levels in the past.
"We know that certain types of fossil corals act as important recorders of past sea levels," said Professor Paul Kench from Simon Fraser University in Canada.
"By measuring the ages and the depths of these fossil corals, we are identifying that there have been periods several hundred years ago that the sea level has been much lower than we thought in parts of the Indian Ocean," Kench said.
Sea-level reconstructions over the past two millennia provide a pre-industrial context to assess whether the magnitude and rate of modern sea-level change is unprecedented, the researchers said.
Understanding where sea levels have been historically, and what happens as they rise, will provide greater insights into how coral reef systems and islands may be able to respond to the changes in sea levels in the future, they said.
The ongoing study, which began in 2017, underscores the serious threat posed to coastal cities and communities in the region, the researchers said.
It also suggests that if such acceleration continues over the next century, sea levels in the Indian Ocean will have risen to their highest level ever in recorded history, they said.