Sea Level Rise Accelerated by Climate Change

Sea Level Rise Accelerated by Climate Change

The 25-year record is just long enough to provide an initial detection of acceleration-the results will become more robust as the Jason-3 and subsequent altimetry satellites lengthen the time series. The predicted sea level rise of 2 feet by century's end may not be catastrophic for wealthier countries, but it will be devastating for those without the money to deal with impacts of global warming.

"And this is nearly certainly a conservative estimate", added Nerem, a professor of aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.

"But that's probably not going to be the case".

The study looked at altimeter readings from various satellites stretching back to 1992, adding in data from climate change models to factor out the variability of events like El Niño and volcanic eruptions, and reach a baseline figure. The rate of sea level rise in the satellite era has risen from about 0.1 inch (2.5 millimeters) per year in the 1990s to about 0.13 inches (3.4 millimeters) per year today.

Climate change is making our seas rise faster and faster, confirms a new study examining 25 years of data. "It also demonstrates the importance of climate models in interpreting satellite records, such as in our work where they allow us to estimate the background effects of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo on global sea level". Processes could kick in that cause the ice to disintegrate faster than models predict.

Scientists say global warming will be the primary cause of future sea-level rise.

For one, higher concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere boost the temperature of water and warm water expands.

UNSW's Professor Church is the co-convening lead author of chapters on sea level rise in the most recent IPCC assessment report. Even in the very best-case scenarios, we're looking at gaining two feet of average global water level rises over the next 80 years.


They also used data from the Grace Satellite gravity mission to determine that the acceleration is largely being driven by melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica.

"I think that's a real concern. The ice sheets are contributing measurably to this acceleration", he said.

A section of ice sheet is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft along the Upper Baffin Bay coast on March 27, 2017, above Greenland.

Satellite data is vital to this research, said Nerem. Turns out, we weren't panicking almost enough.

"We have known from observations that the ice sheets and mountain glaciers have been losing mass at an accelerated rate over the past decade or so", Fernando Paolo, postdoctoral scholar at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who was not involved with the study, told Newsweek.

By what is presumably a complete coincidence, the funding for the NASA satellites that provide this data is now in danger of being axed as part of the government's current crack-down on various scientific projects. When it comes to that lowest curve, said Dutton, "what this paper is saying is we know that that's not reasonable".

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