The findings, compiled by University of Siegen (Germany) researcher Sönke Dangendorf, as well as scientists from Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands, were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the study, the analysis suggested the long-warned acceleration in sea level rise is no longer imminent – it’s underway.

“We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought,” Dangendorf told the Washington Post.

According to the study, sea levels rose at about 1.1 millimeters annually, or 0.43 inches per decade, before 1990, but from 1993 to 2012, seas rose at a much higher annual rate: 3.1 millimeters every year, or 1.22 inches per decade. It may seem like a small rise, but it’s alarming to scientists that the rate has tripled in a relatively short period of time.

Sea level rise is directly tied to global warming, which has been accelerated by greenhouse gas emissions, scientists say.

“Their final estimate of 20th century (particularly pre-1990) global mean sea level rise is in good agreement with the results of the two different analyses presented by [our] 2015 paper, and less than those of most other reconstructions,” Robert Kopp, a Rutgers University sea level researcher who published a 2015 study that also found a rapid acceleration in rising sea levels, told the Post.

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