Despite knowledge that the ocean levels have been rising for many years during the global warming era little has been done in most parts of the world to protect the coastlines. But no longer. Sea levels have risen about eight inches in the past hundred years and depending on the rapidly of the ocean warming and further melting of the ice caps and ice sheets the rising is expected to accelerate. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) estimates an average rise of 20 inches with a range of 6 to 37 inches by the end of the 21st century.
The statistics for the potential rising varies depending on the degree of warming and the amount of melting ice in Greenland, the world’s glaciers and the Antarctica.
The Melting of Greenland
If all the ice on Greenland melted the sea would rise about 20 feet. If the ice of the Antarctica melted totally the sea would rise 200 feet. Needless to say, such catastrophic events are not likely in the next century but even small amounts of melting ice would cause the sea to rise and seriously threaten the coastlines of all the continents.
Vulnerable Cities and Countries
A rise of several feet will cause floods throughout much of the world, Low lying cities as St. Petersburg, Miami, Greater New York and New Orleans and countries as Bangladesh, much of Indonesia, Netherlands, Maldives, Northern Germany, the East and West coasts of the United States, as well as the coastlines of Africa and South America will all be threatened by rising seas and by storm surges that could breach protective walls.
Preparing for Floods
Cities that previously had ignored the threat to their cities have now take steps to begin to increase the height of their seawalls. Following a major storm that flooded Balboa Island in December 2010 a change in attitude toward the danger of rising seas has prompted cities, such as, Newport Beach, California with its highly vulnerable Balboa Island to reconsider how to protect their city which lies just a few feet above sea level. An extremely high tide could completely flood Balboa, a tightly packed neighborhood of several thousand houses.
Other cities in California share the danger. San Francisco. Oakland and Ventura are also threatened. In the March 6, 2011 LA Times described the change in attitude as coastal cities prepare for rising seas. Building up the wetlands as buffers, constructing new levees and seawalls are being planned. Other coasts throughout the US are equally vulnerable as are coasts throughout the world.
Worldwide Temperature Change
Each component of global warming and climate change adds multiple threats to our civilization worldwide. Worldwide temperatures rise unequally and thus cause uneven results. In the Arctic the rising sea surface temperature is producing near ice-free summers that further increases warming tendencies in that area. Global warming will subsequently increase more rapidly, which will further affect ocean circulation and weather patterns. Recent findings suggest that completely ice-free Arctic summers may occur within ten years.
Global sea surface temperature has increased by 0.75 degree C ( 1.33 degree F) in the past 100 years. Half of that rise has occurred in the past 30 years. Sea surface temperature in European seas is increasing more rapidly than in the global oceans. Over the past 25 years sea surface temperature in all European seas has risen about 10 times faster than the average rate of increase during the past century.
The accelerating rise in global sea surface temperatures is a determining factor in the changes in weather patterns, storm patterns, hurricanes, changes in waterfall, food production, droughts, weather comfort and climate regulation. All are further evidence of the critical impact of burning of fossil fuels and global warming.
If you are deeply concerned for the future of our planet, read “Rescue,” a novel, that focuses on the increasing dangers to earth as global warming and worldwide pollution sweep the world. It offers solutions to the immense crisis that faces us.
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