Rising Sea Levels Cannot Be Stopped, New Study Says

by Mandy Adwell on 07/03/2012

in Earth,Living

Last house on Holland Island

According to a new study published in the journal Nature, one of the most dangerous effects of global warming that will have the largest impact on civilization as we know it is rising sea levels. Despite the jarring reality of sea level changes and the fact that 1 in 10 people on Earth live in high-risk areas, scientists say there isn’t really a whole lot we can do about it.

If we somehow managed to make significant cuts in the amount of greenhouse gases we emit from burning fossil fuels, sea level rise over the next century would slow down a bit. In the best case scenario, scientists say global temperature increases will stay either below 2 degrees Celsius or near 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, due to the way heat is stored and transferred through oceans, not even a cool surface could keep sea levels at bay.

As the rise in temperature makes its way deeper into the ocean, mixing through various regions, the increasing bodies of water will warm, expand, and produce a higher sea level. Melting glaciers and sheets of ice would contribute even further.

These findings all reinforce what scientists have said to be the long-term impacts of climate change on the health of our planet. Even if it feels helpless, scientists say it’s still crucial to cut emissions as quickly as possible.

While we might not be able to bring the rising sea level to a halt or prevent the Earth from getting significantly warmer, cutting back emissions and slowing down fossil fuel use could provide the time we need to adapt.

Image CC licensed by baldeaglebluff

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