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Sea level in Piran Bay rising faster than global average

Koper, 13 January - The sea level in the Bay of Piran has been rising much faster than the global average over the past 20 years. The Environment Agency has been collecting data with a buoy off shore from the town of Koper since 1961. While the sea level remained almost unchanged in the first 35 years, it has risen by some 10 centimetres in the past 20 years.

Coastal town of Piran.
Photo: An┼że Malovrh/STA

Unless infrastructure on the coastline is adapted to the raising sea levels, Slovenia can expect the sea to flood the coastal areas daily by the end of the century.

A number of different scenarios suggest that the sea levels across the world will rise by between 20 and 80 centimetres by 2100 and the same goes for European seas.

Under RCP 4.5, a scenario on greenhouse gas emissions, the sea level in the Mediterranean will increase by 40-50 centimetres and the sea level in the Adriatic by about 10 centimetres less.

It is hard to predict regional variables that will affect the rise, the agency said.

The agency said that the weather has affected sea level fluctuations less frequently in the past than it does now.

The rises are affected by drops in atmospheric pressure, strong southerly winds and above all the resonance between the effects of weather and the 23-hour ebb and flow cycle of the Adriatic Sea, according to the Environment Agency.

In the past 55 years, the sea level at the buoy exceeded 300 centimetres that indicate flooding more than 480 times. The highest level on record was more than 390 centimetres.

The sea usually floods in winter and autumn, and sometimes in spring, eight times annually on average.

© STA, 2018