SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A new government report anticipates an alarming forecast for sea level rise over the next 30 years. WSAV News 3 spoke with a local expert about what our region has seen so far and could expect in the future.

“So locally here in Savannah over the last 85 years…or so, rates have been… about three millimeters per year, which is equal to about a foot per century,” said Dr. Clark Alexander, director and professor at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

The report by seven federal agencies says scientists are confident there will be another 10- to 12-inch rise in sea level by 2050.

“The rate of sea level rise has been increasing over the rate we have been experiencing over the last 100 years,” said Alexander.

He credits climate change as a factor to a faster rise in sea level.

“As the climate warms…more water is added to the oceans,” said Alexander. “And as the water that we have in the oceans starts to expand, because as water warms up it expands and takes up more volume.”

Dr. Alexander states that the extensive salt marshes in our area are positive. They provide protection by knocking down wave energy among other features.

Researchers are trying to document whether the marshes will be able to keep up with the rate of sea level rise as it is seen today and the rate of sea level rise in the future.