Climate change has been a pro-active phenomenon and the repercussions are extensive and irreversible. One of the most significant and disturbing impacts of climate change is sea level rise. Water bodies are rising at an alarming rate across the world that causes sudden precarious flooding.
What is the major cause behind the dangerous tidal surge?
The answer is greenhouse gas!
Oceans try to temper the increasing quantities of greenhouse gases poured by humans into our atmosphere. The ocean bodies of the planet successfully manage to absorb over 90% of the heat released by the harmful gases. As a result of this, ocean heating had created a new record in the year 2018. This sea level rise represented the immense toll the adverse human acts have on the oceans.
Climate change and global warming are often used as synonyms. On the other hand, scientists choose to utilize ‘climate change’ for explaining the complicated large-scale transformations that are taking place. Climate change is affecting the climate pattern and weather of our planet in an irrevocable manner.
Sea level rise is one of the major effects of climate change. The average water levels have surged by more than 8 inches from the 1880s. It is also observed that the sea level rise was 3 inches during the past 25 years itself. The ocean level rises almost 0.13 inches every year.
Facts About The Sea Level Rise
Floods over any other natural disaster attribute to the highest number of deaths and devastation in the United States of America. Floods are a huge matter of concern in most parts of the world primarily because delta regions contain large and important community residences.
The reason for sea level rise is related to 3 primary factors and all 3 reasons are triggered by the current climate change on a global level:
I: Thermal Intensification
The water levels expand as soon as they heat up. Heating oceans are one of the major reasons for the sea level rise for the last 25 years.
II: Melting Glaciers
Huge ice formation including mountain caps naturally melts by a small amount every summer. The evaporation of seawater during winter leads to the formation of snow, thus balancing the water cycle. Nonetheless, global warming has prompted continuous high temperatures in recent years. This resulted in higher and much fast-paced summer melting than normal.
Additionally, the formation of snow has also considerably decreased due to late winter and early springtime. This has created an imbalance and caused sea level rise.
III. Disappearing Antarctica and Greenland Ice Sheets Greenland
Increased heating of oceans has caused enormous ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland to melt at an exponentially quick speed. Researchers believe that seawater and meltwater are gradually seeping under the ice sheets of Greenland. This is further lubricating the ice streams and driving the sea levels higher.
Scientists have allotted special attention to West Antarctica since the Larsen C crack in the ice shelf in 2017. Furthermore, the glaciers in East Antarctica have started revealing unsettling signs of break and destabilization.
Coastal habitats are already adversely affected by the devastating effects of sea level rise. However, later on, even a slight increase in water levels will have a resonating impact on the in-lands causing far-reaching erosion, aquifer, soil contamination, loss of habitat for numerous plants, fish, and birds, and wetland flooding.
The rise in sea level is stimulating frequent typhoons, hurricanes, and powerful storms that leave behind heavy rainfall and mass destruction. According to a study, 50% of the deaths during Atlantic hurricanes from 1963 were prompted by storm swells.
Mass migrations are increasing owing to flooding in the coastal and low-lying areas while millions of people are endangered. Internet connectivity is highly vulnerable to sea level rise due to the basic underground communication infrastructure.
Planning for adaptation measures in several coastal regions is underway. These planning commissions are considerably expensive and have long-term prospects for rising water levels. Some common and effective measures include rethinking roadways, building seawalls, and planting suitable vegetation like mangroves that will absorb water.
Jakarta is aiming to build an eighty-foot-high seawall for $40 billion to protect their city. Rotterdam, the Centre for Global Adaptation, is providing models to many sea-facing cities to combat inundation. A Dutch city erected barriers, innovative architectures, and drainage systems like ‘water square’ to avoid land loss. These expensive projects must soon become a community effort to save land and mankind.
Our climate is quickly and irreparably changing. We can prevent this only when we locate the cause and nip it in the bud.
Most predictions state that global warming will continuously accelerate and cause sea level rise to dangerous levels. This indicates the flooding of countless coastal cities. Ongoing research is still trying to figure out the speed and repercussions on the wide swaths of land increasingly going under the water bodies.
The Intergovernmental Panel informed that oceans will rise 10-30 inches by 2100 and witness a 1.5℃ temperature warming. Reports from NASA suggest an enormous 26 inches rise in water bodies within this century. There will be a 216 feet surge in sea level once all the glacial and ice caps melt. This will inundate many countries and some states including Bangladesh and Florida. With the ongoing climatic patterns, this might happen very soon.
Meanwhile, researchers are humanizing and sharpening their data and understanding of sea level rise. Limiting the release of greenhouse gases through a collaborative effort of the nations will surely have a positive impact on climate change.