South China Sea’s sea level has risen ever since 1900, per researchers. The level has reportedly risen by 150mm. The study was conducted by researchers under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) as well as some other institutions in the country.
It mainly focused on Porites coral, a widespread coral found in the sea. The coral is known to have a high growth rate, a sensitive response to the change in the seawater environment, and an evident annual growth layer.
The researchers observed the correlation of the oxygen-stable isotopes of the Porites coral to the sea level, surface temperature, surface salinity, and even rainfall received the South China Sea received. Then, they reconstructed the record of sea level at an annual resolution.
The research reflected that the sea level dropped by 0.73 mm every year between 1850 and 1900, and then started rising by 1.31 mm every year up to 2015 from 1900. The rise in sea level has eventually increased, increasing by about 3.75 mm every year starting from 1993.
The study discovered that changes in the sea level of the South China Sea may even be the result of a mix of greenhouse gases emitted between 1850 and 1950 and solar activities. It also focuses on the fact that greenhouse gases could be the dominant factor behind the rapid sea-level rise from 1950.
Further detail on the study can be found in a peer-reviewed journal titled Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
The South China Sea is not important alone for China, but other countries in that region and also the world as nearly USD 4 trillion or one-third of the world maritime trade happens via the sea.