HomeWorldMalta's 'Roman Tidal Baths' Defying Climate Change With Millennia-Old Sea Levels? Fact...

Malta’s ‘Roman Tidal Baths’ Defying Climate Change With Millennia-Old Sea Levels? Fact Checking Claim


Related stories


(Photo: Instagram/ julia_kivela)

While the baths in Silema, Malta have been a tourist attraction for a long time now, a rather normal picture of it is going viral on social media for reasons that have nothing to do with the baths. Commonly referred to as ‘Roman baths,’ suggesting that they go back thousands of years to the time of the Roman Empire (27 BC to 476 AD), the baths were made in the Victorian era (19th Century).

However, several social media accounts are posting the photo with the claim that since the sea levels at the ‘Roman baths’ in Malta have stayed the same for ‘thousands of years,’ it disproves climate change. As a result, the first false claim about the photo is that it goes back thousands of years. Although the exact date of when the baths were made is not known, it is established that they were private and were made in the 19th century. According to the website guidemalta.com, the baths were most likely made for Brits in the area who did not know how to swim but still wanted to enjoy the sea.

Meanwhile, Snopes reported that the original photo was taken by travel photographer Julia Kivela on her Instagram account. The report said that a Twitter user called Top Playford shared the image along with the false claim about climate change.

The post was captioned: “Roman tidal baths in Malta – still at sea level after thousands of years. But – climate change is about to kill ups all. Right?” Since the first post, several similar posts were made on X with the same claim. Here are some of them.

According to climate.gov, since 1880, the global average sea level has risen by 8–9 inches (21–24 centimeters). The rate of sea level rise has more than doubled from 0.06 inches (1.4 millimeters) per year in the 20th century to 0.14 inches (3.6 millimeters) per year from 2006–2015. In 2022, the global average sea level reached a record high of 101.2 mm (4 inches) above 1993 levels.

However, the reason a rise in global sea levels is unlikely to be determined by the sea level on the coast of Malta is because of the difference between global and local sea levels. While global sea level refers to the average height of all of the Earth’s ocean basins, local sea level, also known as relative sea level, refers to the height of the water measured along the coast relative to a specific point on land. As a result, the sea level at any particular coast is no evidence of rising sea levels due to global warning.

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories