It’s been over a century since the world first learned about the notion of global warming. Scientists have kept an eye on rising temperatures, but they’ve yet to fully understand how the climate is changing. But now, new scientific discoveries are shedding light on this issue. One such discovery is that sea levels are indeed rising as a result of climate change.
What is climate change?
Though climate change can mean different things to different people, it’s commonly described by the same phrase. According to Science Magazine, “climate change” describes “changes in average global surface temperature, as well as other climate variables.” Basically, warmer air holds more moisture than cooler air, so the atmosphere traps more heat. On average, the globe’s surface temperature has increased by nearly 1.8°F since 1880. So, you might expect sea levels to rise as the air temperature rises. But when you examine it closely, the changes are less clear-cut than you might imagine. We must always remember that the oceans are vast and on an extremely long timescale, so even small changes can have drastic consequences over a long period.
The global warming process
Many people are aware of climate change. However, a sea level rise is a relatively new concept. In a recent study, researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany spent three years making accurate measurements of sea levels in the Arctic Ocean and found that sea levels are rising faster than previously thought. If this wasn’t alarming enough, they’ve also discovered that oceans are rising by about 3 millimeters a year, or about 0.04 inches. They studied the levels between June and November. The findings suggest that sea levels are rising faster than the average ocean levels, and that the rising waters are taking place on average three times faster than a century ago.
Climate change science and its implications for sea level riseMany people (including most scientists) believe that climate change will not have a serious impact on sea level rise, and for good reason: the sea levels have risen throughout Earth’s history, although they aren’t rising as quickly now as they were tens of thousands of years ago. But recent scientific research has revealed that ocean levels are rising much more rapidly now than was previously thought, and this is due to two factors. The first is that the water already in the world’s oceans is being released in huge quantities from melting glaciers and ice sheets, and this new water is adding to the rising sea levels. According to a study published in Nature: Climate Change, current sea level rise of about 2 mm.
How do the oceans work?
There are three main layers of water in the ocean: the bottom, the top, and the salinity level. The top layer is dominated by warm, salty water, which also happens to be very deep (less than 300 feet). The salinity level (which is around 7%) is similar to the salinity level of the ocean’s seawater at the surface. The ocean bottom is neutral, meaning it doesn’t have any distinct temperatures. The salinity level of the ocean, therefore, doesn’t differ between depths. This neutral layer is usually between 50 and 70 feet deep, which is the same depth as the sea floor. It’s also possible to look at the layers in reverse and, in that case, all you get is water, with nothing in between. So the bottom, or global, layer of water is also the upper limit of the salinity range.
Why are sea levels rising?
That’s an excellent question, and one we don’t fully understand yet. All we can say is that Earth is changing, and as the Earth changes, the seas rise. Even though most climate scientists agree that climate change is real and is causing the world’s waters to rise, they haven’t exactly pinpointed a reason why. However, this new study is suggesting that the causes could be different than we thought. The research was published in the journal Nature. The new research involves the island nation of Kiribati and its surrounding atolls. These islands sit less than a mile off the coast of the equator, and are made of coral. Reefs make up around 90 percent of the land area, and as a result, almost all of the islands are surrounded by coral reefs.
When will they hit the melting point?
A new study, published in the journal Nature, has revealed that sea levels have risen by about 1.3 millimeters per year (0.07 inches) over the past 20 years. This rate has increased nearly three times faster than previous estimates. The new study’s lead author, Kevin Trenberth, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, says the previous number was based on data gathered back in the 1970s. These latest findings come after a team of climate scientists tracked the rise of sea levels by looking at satellite images. The new findings also showed that the fastest rate of rise is occurring in the north Atlantic region, near Greenland. What’s caused the increase? Scientists have pinpointed the reason for this acceleration as Greenland’s unprecedented melting.