Disastrous beach erosion in Ocean City, and gradual inundation of hundreds of square miles of coastal areas elsewhere in the nation, could result in coming decades according to a newspaper report based on a major study by the embattled U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The report predicts that the seas could rise in the next dozen decades as a result of a man-made global warming trend by any amount from a few feet to more than 10 feet, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The rise in the levels of the oceans and the flooding that would result are seen as eventual consequences of the increasing generation of carbon dioxide through combustion of fossil fuels. An increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere heats the earth by increasing the degree to which the atmosphere traps and holds incoming solar radiation.

As carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, heat energy from the sun continues to reach the surface of the earth, but reflection of the same heat energy back into space is impeded. With energy coming in but not going out, temperatures would have no place to go but up. So the oceans would warm up, and expand as they do so. And the polar icecaps would melt.

And, under this scenario, the oceans would inevitably rise.