NASA Tool Predicts Which Cities Will Flood As Ice Melts

Posted: Nov 17 2017, 2:12pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
NASA Tool Predicts Which Cities will Flood as Ice Melts
Credit: Carla Schaffer / AAAS

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The tool will help determine how loss of sea ice will impact sea level rise at a specific location

NASA has developed a new tool to predict which cities will be at higher risk of flooding.

As glaciers melt due to global warming, the result will be considerable sea level rise. This means that many cities in the world could experience flooding in the future. But how much flooding different cities will eventually experience is not certain.

The tool developed by NASA researchers will allow people to understand which icy areas of the world will contribute most to sea level rise in a specific city. Not only does the tool have significance to flood forecasting, but it will give governments the opportunity to make decisions that could protect communities from extreme scenarios.

“As cities and countries attempt to build plans to mitigate flooding, they have to be thinking about 100 years in the future and they want to assess risk in the same way that insurance companies do." Senior scientist Dr Erik Ivins told BBC.

The tool incorporates all the factors that will impact sea level changes at various points around the globe over time. By computing each of these factors into their calculations, researchers can analyze the vulnerability to flooding of different countries across the globe.

For example, tool shows that changes to ice sheet in the northwest corner of Greenland will have a direct impact on sea levels for London over the course of 100 year, while New York will be most impacted by ice melting on the northern half of Greenland. On the other hand, the melting of the northern parts of the Antarctic ice sheet will have a severe effect on the sea level rise in Sydney, Australia.

A key process that influences the ice melting and pattern of sea-level change around the world is gravity.

“Ice sheets are so heavy, that when they melt, the gravity field is modified, and the ocean is less attracted to the ice mass. This means that locally, close to the ice change itself, sea level will decrease.” Eric Larour, one of the authors of the study, told CNN.

The approach could help researchers better forecast strong flooding set to occur within a certain time-frame and issue warnings and other preparation that may save lives.

Researcher Larour says.“This tool is very useful to understand risk from specific glaciers, and to form a complete picture of how much risk the city is under.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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