Sea Level Rise Is Much Worse Than Anticipated, Says NASA

Posted: Mar 6 2018, 8:51am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Sea Level Rise is Much Worse Than Anticipated, Says NASA
Credit: NASA

Global sea level is not rising steadily. It has been accelerating in recent decades

Sea level rise is a natural outcome of warming temperatures. As the world warms, glaciers melt and release more water into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise.

Now, NASA researchers have found that global sea level is not rising steadily. It has been increasing at an accelerating rate in the past few decades. As a result, worldwide sea level would be significantly higher than is currently projected. The acceleration is driven mainly by increased melting of Antarctica and Greenland glaciers and is expected to be doubled by 2100.

The rise in sea level is already projected to more than 11 inches by 2100. But if it continues to change its pace, sea level will increase 26 inches by the end of the century, enough to cause troubles for coastal cities. The projection is based on 25 years of satellite data obtained by NASA and European space agency.

“This is almost certainly a conservative estimate. Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely." Lead author Steve Nerem, who is a member of NASA's Sea Level Change team, said.

Climate change triggers sea level rise mostly in two ways: by warming the ocean, which causes the water to expand and by melting glaciers and ice sheets, which cause more water to flow into the ocean and increase its volume.

A number of satellites including Topex/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2 and Jason-3 satellite missions have been monitoring and recording changes in sea level rise since 1992. The data suggest that the sea level has increased from about 0.1 inch per year in the past couple of decades to about 0.13 inches per year today.

“The Topex/Poseidon/Jason altimetry missions have been essentially providing the equivalent of a global network of nearly half a million accurate tide gauges, providing sea surface height information every 10 days for over 25 years," said co study author Brian Beckley from NASA Goddard. “As this climate record approaches three decades, the fingerprints of Greenland and Antarctic land based ice loss are now being revealed in the global and regional mean sea level estimates.”

The research also took into account other factors like El Niños and La Niñas, which can influence ocean temperature and global precipitation patterns and cause fluctuations in sea level rise.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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