The Rise Of Sea Levels

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Introduction: Sea levels have been on the rise ever since the start of the industrial revolution, some aspects of this rise are natural and some human induced. Sea level rise (SLR) has many different effects on global systems including, flooding, saltwater intrusion, salinity and density. These changes will ultimately effect around 40% of the world population, which live within about 100 kilometers of a coastline (Union of Concerned Scientist, 2011). These increased effects will put millions of people at risk of displacement. As stated earlier sea levels have been rising (slowly) since the industrial evolution, but in the last few decades (early 1990s) there has been a significant increase (see figure. 1)(Nicholas & Cazenave 2010). A…show more content…
RCP2.6 being the most ideal scenario is going to be hard to do and will still have consequences; oceanographer Stefan Rahmstorf states “even Figure 2 (measurements in cm) - retrieved from under this highly optimistic scenario we might see over half a meter of sea-level rise.” So we are expecting a rise no matter what, except that it can be small or catastrophic. The small rise will still have negative impacts, but they will not be as difficult to combat as scenario RCP8.5. Further research will go through the contributing factors to increasing SLR and the impacts it will have on the Earth. Contributing Factors Thermal Expansion and Ice Melt The two main contributing factors to SLR are thermal expansion of sea water due to ocean warming and water mass input from land ice melt (Nicholas & Cazenave 2010). Extended melting seasons are a contributing factor to thermal expansion, which is affecting the density of the ocean; with increased runoff from former glaciated areas more freshwater is being put into our oceans. These longer melt seasons do not allow the glacier or ice caps regain their mass during the winter seasons allowing more fresh water to be added to the oceans. Data shows that Greenland’s discharge has almost doubled in between the years 1993 and 2004
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