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Scientists Retract Paper on Rising Sea Levels Due to Errors

NASA Projects Sea Level Rise

In a NASA "what-if" animation, light-blue areas in southern Florida and Louisiana indicate regions that may be underwater should sea levels rise dramatically. (NASA)

Scientists have been forced to retract a paper that claimed sea level were rising thanks to the effects of global warming, after mistakes were discovered that undermined the results.

The study was published in Nature Geoscience and predicted that sea levels would rise by as much as 2.7 feet by the end of the twenty-first century. 

The paper also highlighted that it reinforced the conclusions of the U.N.'s controversial Fourth Assessment report, which warned of the dangerous of man-made climate change.

However, mistakes in time intervals and inaccurately applied statistics have forced the authors to retract their paper -- the first official retraction ever for the three-year-old journal, notes the Guardian. In an officially published retraction of their paper, the authors acknowledged these mistakes as factors that compromised the results. 

"We no longer have confidence in our projections for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and for this reason the authors retract the results pertaining to sea-level rise after 1900," wrote authors Mark Siddall, Thomas Stocker and Peter Clark.

Since the leak of e-mails from the U.K.'s top global warming scientists in early December, many other errors and sloppy mistakes have been uncovered in leading report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Flaws in weather stations have led some to question claims of rising temperatures, sloppy math led to holes in postulates that the Himalayas were rapidly melting and fears of a man-made food shortage in Africa seem unsubstantiated as well. 

Announcing the formal retraction of the paper from the journal, Siddall told the Guardian,, "It's one of those things that happens. People make mistakes and mistakes happen in science." A formal retraction was required, rather than a correction, because the errors undermined the study's conclusion.

"Retraction is a regular part of the publication process," he said. "Science is a complicated game and there are set procedures in place that act as checks and balances."