Rising sea levels is probably the most well-spoken effect of climate change. It has been a cause of worry to scientists around the world. Today, the general public are also sensitized towards this problem; glacial calving in Greenland was widely reported by big media agencies like Forbes, CNN and others in the last few weeks, heralding the world’s doom.
How much will the sea rise by?
Global estimates of sea level rise vary drastically, as I found out during my research for this video. Sea levels also rise and fall due to a variety of factors, not just climate change (see here). Worst-case scenario predictions claim that sea levels could rise by as much as 2 meters (6.5 feet) by the end of the century. A more conservative estimate is an average rise of 65 cm, according to a team from NASA. Studies suggest that sea level rise is increasing by 3 mm (0.11 inches) every year, and could rise to 10 mm (0.39 inches) every year by 2100. Glacial melting and thermal expansion of ocean water are the most commonly stated reasons for this.
Why is sea level rise dangerous?
Sea level rise is particularly dangerous because 44 percent of the world’s population lives within 150 km of the coasts. Almost 1 in 10 people (634 million in total) live in coasts less than 10 meters above sea level. Along with humans, most of the major cities of the world — centers of thriving economic activities — are located on coasts. Many island states are expected to suffer and may even be wiped out of the map if sea levels rise by extreme amounts.
“Topography of coasts” image in slide 2 and “world map” image in the penultimate slide taken from Google Images. All other Images are self-made.