Are sea levels rising?
When water warms, it expands and takes up more volume. This effect is called “thermal expansion.” Long-term measurements demonstrate that sea levels are rising worldwide both from thermal expansion caused by warming temperatures and from the addition of water from inland glaciers, which are melting nearly everywhere at accelerating rates. Increased melting is also occuring at the ice caps in Greenland and West Antarctica.
Many scientists now think that sea levels will rise by at least one to two feet by 2100. A rise of two to six feet is possible, if emissions of greenhouse gases remain unchecked and significant melting of the ice caps occurs. A rise in sea level of just a foot or two could have significant negative consequences for islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific and for low-lying coastal areas along the continental U.S., such as the eastern shoreline of Cape Cod, the barrier islands protecting North Carolina, most of southern Florida and the city of Boston. Since most of the world’s major cities also lie along ocean coastlines, sea level rise has major implications for those important population centers, where erosion, flooding and rising groundwater levels will threaten buildings, roads, subway systems and other essential services.
*info provided by the new england aquarium
Read more about the effects of Climate Change on our health, economy and all aspects of our lives in this new (August 2013) article from Science Magazine, “Natural Systems in Changing Climates.” In it you will find a comprehensive list of articles related to this topic from scientist and environmentalists.
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