A new paper published in Science magazine suggests that ocean the floors are getting deeper and sea levels have fallen by about 170 meters (560 ft) since the Cretaceous period 80 million years ago, due to tectonic shifts. Previous estimates were between 40 to 250 meters. On this basis of this work, a fall of 120 metres is expected over the next 80 million years, which equates to just 0.015 centimetres per century. Not much when we we consider IPCC projections of sea level rise. That said, the IPCC seems to have abandoned decadal projections in their latest report and gone for a 90-year projection, following the accuracy failures of the 1990, 1995 and 2001 reports. See the January 15th post over at Prometheus: Verification of IPCC Sea Level Rise Forecasts 1990, 1995, 2001.
The research article is entitled: ‘Long-Term Sea-Level Fluctuations Driven by Ocean Basin Dynamics’
The first paragraph reads:
Earth’s long-term sea-level history is characterized by widespread continental flooding in the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago), followed by gradual regression of inland seas. However, published estimates of the Late Cretaceous sea-level high differ by half an order of magnitude, from 40 to 250 meters above the present level. The low estimate is based on the stratigraphy of the New Jersey margin. By assimilating marine geophysical data into reconstructions of ancient ocean basins, we model a Late Cretaceous sea level that is 170 (85 to 270) meters higher than it is today. We use a mantle convection model to suggest that New Jersey subsided by 105 to 180 meters in the past 70 million years because of North America’s westward passage over the subducted Farallon plate. This mechanism reconciles New Jersey margin–based sea-level estimates with ocean basin reconstructions.
The paper is also reported by Reuters, with their usual perspective on climate change.