NASA issued a chilling warning of rising sea levels which puts millions living around coastal areas at risk. A ton of research is being done at the moment on trying to develop an accurate model to predict the impact and resulting consequences of the rising sea levels across the globe, especially with the Climate Change Summit scheduled to be held at Paris later this year.
At a press briefing on August 26, NASA officials stated that sea levels rising is a given. However the real question is at what rate it will continue to rise.
According to Steve Nerem, lead scientists of NASA’s Sea Level Change Team at the University of Colorado in Boulder, more than one-third of the rise in the sea level is due to the warming of the oceans. It works similarly like a thermometer. “When heat goes under the ocean, it expands just like mercury in a thermometer. That expansion means more mass for the ocean and a higher sea level overall,” commented Nerem.
However the critical issue is that the remaining two-thirds of the rise of global sea level are a direct result of the melting of ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland. According to data collected by NASA’s satellites, more than 1.9 millimetres of sea level rises per annum due to increase in mass of the ocean.
“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more. But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer,” added Nerem.
People living near oceans and low lying capitals such as Dhaka in Bangladesh with a population of more than 2 million could see rivers flooding within the next 20 years or so, leaving several areas of the city submerged under water.
Many scientists believe that the Arctic is en route to becoming ‘ice-less’ during the summer within the next 15 to 18 years.