The Effects of Rising Sea Levels Essay

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The Effects of Rising Sea Levels
Over the last several decades, climate change has evolved from a polarizing discussion to what will likely be the largest collaborative research project of our generation. While many aspects of climate change are still misunderstood, there is little debate that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at an alarming rate. This rise is considered the main cause behind an increase in global temperature, which has set in motion a chain reaction of climatic events.
Atmospheric carbon impacts the temperature of the Earth because it is a greenhouse gas. When visible light from the sun heats the surface of the earth, some of the energy is transmitted back towards the
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While thermal expansion is difficult to observe on a small scale, such as a glass of water, it can have a significant impact on a massive volume of water such as the combined oceans of the world. Melting land ice, the other major factor in the sea-level rise, is a more straightforward issue. As global temperature increases, land-based glaciers and ice will melt sooner and accumulate later. Naturally, this runoff will lead to an increase in the total amount of water in the ocean.
The combination of these and other trends was an estimated average sea-level increase of 1.5mm per year between 1961 and 2003, which reached 2.4mm per year in the decade from 1993 to 2003. The decades prior to this trend showed only minor fluctuations in sea-level, suggesting that the current rate exceeds what could be caused by natural cycles. While the exact impact of rising oceans is difficult to determine, it is certain that the consequences will include some degree of flooding, integration of salt water into water tables, and a loss of land due to coastal erosion and submersion.6

Decades of research suggest that sea-levels are rising, and will continue to rise as a result of climate change. This rise will have the most immediate and significant impact on
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