What Are Rising Sea Levels

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What Are Rising Sea Levels – Possible future sea level rise in the Southern Ocean, Miami, Florida, with a 2°C rise in global temperatures. Image: Nikolay Lamm/Climate CentralView. Image in full screen mode.

Possible future sea level rise in the Southern Ocean, Miami, Florida, with a 2°C rise in global temperatures. Photo: Nikolay Lamm/Photo courtesy of Climate Central

What Are Rising Sea Levels

What Are Rising Sea Levels

Researchers have found that countries not yet born will face rising sea and ocean levels in the 2300s, even if governments meet climate pledges.

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Researchers have found that rising sea levels will pose a challenge to human civilization for many centuries to come, even if internationally agreed climate change targets are met and emissions that cause global warming are immediately stopped.

Between the current global climate and the impact of coastal flooding, the world will face a rise in climate within 2,300 years, regardless of urgent climate action, according to a new study.

Even if governments meet their commitments under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the first 15 years of the agreement will produce enough emissions to cause sea levels to rise by about 20 cm by 2300.

This scenario, developed by the researchers, assumes that all countries commit to reducing emissions by 2030 and then gradually increasing them from there. In fact, only a small number of countries are on track to meet the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Sea Level Rise

“Even with the Paris commitments, there will be significant sea level rise,” said Peter Clark, a climate scientist at Oregon State University and author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Sea level rise will be an ongoing challenge for future generations, and we must continue to adapt. This will be an expensive new way of life, costing trillions of dollars.

“Sea levels have a long-term outlook, so even if we start to cool sea levels, they will continue to rise. It’s like trying to turn the Titanic instead of a speedboat. “

What Are Rising Sea Levels

The researchers used a computer model that simulated sea level rise in response to different levels of emissions, looking at historical emissions since 1750 and what emissions would look like from 2015 to 2030 if countries met their Paris Agreement commitments.

Sea Level Change: Multimedia

About half of the 20 cm of sea level rise comes from the world’s five largest greenhouse gas emitters – the United States, China, India, Russia and the European Union, according to the researchers. The United States was a key sponsor of the Paris Agreement, but Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement this week.

“Our results show that what we do today will have a big impact in 2300. 20 centimeters are very important; This is essentially the same level of sea level rise that we saw throughout the 20th century,” said Alexander Nowels, lead author of the study. “The results over just 15 years of emissions are astounding.”

The results show the negative impact of limitless ocean development, which forces countries to invest heavily in protecting critical infrastructure or transfer certain areas to canals. Most of the world’s coastal cities are already facing this problem: recent studies have shown that the current country of 300 million people will experience flooding at least once a year by 2050 if carbon dioxide emissions are significantly reduced.

As the world warms, the oceans are expanding as glaciers on land and two super ice caps melt, causing the oceans to swell.

Alarming Facts About Sea Level Rise

Global sea level rise could reach 1.1 meters by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Clark noted that the reality could be worse if Antarctic melt is on the negative end of the uncertainty.

“People will be less interested in beach life and fewer people will go to sea,” Clark said. “Of course, more drastic emissions cuts will be needed, but the current Paris pledges are not enough to keep ocean levels from rising in the long term.” North Miami, Florida is one of the cities in the eastern United States. Sea levels will rise above the global average. Getty Images

While the latest UN climate change report has significantly increased projections of sea level rise this century, some scientists warn that even these estimates are conservative. But one thing is certain: predicting future sea level rise is a difficult task.

What Are Rising Sea Levels

When scientists at the International Climate Change Organization (IPCC) sat down last month to publish the chapter on sea level rise for their new report, they had their work cut out for them.

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The sea level forecast is the most controversial of the previous report, released in 2007: Scientists and the public believed that the global average level would be less than 60 centimeters (about two feet) by 2100, which the IPCC acknowledges does not suggest this is possible. ice that flows rapidly from Greenland or Antarctica into the ocean. This is obviously important: these two ice caps alone are enough to raise sea levels by 65 meters, compared to 0.4 meters for all the world’s glaciers. But researchers’ understanding of the ice sheet is so uncertain, says the IPCC, that they simply can’t bring themselves to put a figure on it. “Some things should be ignored,” said Don Chambers, a sea level researcher at the University of Texas. “So the forecasts were low.”

Today everything is more certain. In its latest report, published on September 27, the IPCC was able to estimate ice flows from the poles. As a result, sea levels are estimated to rise between 28 and 98 centimeters (more than three feet on average) by 2100, more than 50 percent higher than the 2007 projection. Ted Scambos, chief scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Center: “We’ve got enough insight into this problem to say there’s a limit to how crazy things can get.”

But this does not mean that everything about sea level is now clear. Not at all. Big questions still hang over the future of the ice sheet, which the IPCC admits could add tens of centimeters to recent projections. And there are a lot of little things that researchers can discover.

“We all think we’re trying to raise sea levels by a meter. We just don’t know how fast.”

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The sea does not rise slowly, like water poured into a bathtub, but instead there are explosions and tremors as it rises. Weather conditions such as El Niño can push tens of centimeters of water ashore for months, as happened in California in 1998. The sea has been robbed enough. water will reduce global sea levels by 7 millimeters per year. As ocean levels rise, the land shifts: land rises where glaciers once compressed it, and river deltas sink as rivers gather together. What appears to be rising sea levels in one place may be the result of land subsidence.

All this means that figuring out what the oceans are doing today is an extremely difficult task. Extrapolating their behavior makes even more sense. “Predicting the future is very difficult,” Chambers said. Steve Nerem, from the University of Colorado, said: “We all think we’re aiming for one meter of ocean rise. We don’t know exactly how fast.”

Some facts are indisputable. Researchers can say that global sea levels have risen by about 19 centimeters over the past century. And the inflation rate is rising. The average in the 20th century is about 1.7 millimeters per year; since 1993, the average has almost doubled to about 3.2 millimeters per year. These age statistics have not changed much since the last IPCC report in 2007. The devil, of course, is in the details.

What Are Rising Sea Levels

One challenge is to determine what exactly has caused the growth seen so far. For example, since the 1970s, it has been thought that 40 to 50 percent of sea level rise is due to “thermal expansion”—the fact that water simply takes up space as it warms; 35 percent due to melting glaciers; 5 percent – because people extracted underground water, used it and discharged it into the sea; and the remaining amount is probably due to melting ice at the poles. The main reason this calculation is difficult is the patchiness of the data: for example, satellite measurements of sea height only go back to 1993, and of the more than 100,000 glaciers in the world, only 17 have melt data going back 30 years or more. . “We have to make big assumptions,” Chambers said.

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