Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Warming Wednesdays: the seas are rising

The Union of Concerned Scientists have put out an infographic on the rise of the oceans. This is the world we live in. I'm reproducing their graphic and text here.

Why are the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico hotspots of sea level rise?
  • Global, regional, and local factors all affect the rate of local sea level rise.
  • In the Gulf region, land is subsiding, which allows the ocean to penetrate farther inland.
  • Along the East Coast, changes in the path and strength of ocean currents are contributing to faster-than-average sea level rise.

How quickly is land ice melting?
  • Shrinking land ice — glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets — contributed about half of the total global sea level rise between 1972 and 2008, but its contribution has been increasing since the early 1990s as the pace of ice loss has accelerated.
  • Recent studies suggest that land ice loss added nearly half an inch to global sea level from 2003 to 2007, contributing 75 to 80 percent of the total increase during that period.

How high and how quickly will sea level rise in the future?
  • Our past emissions of heat-trapping gases will largely dictate sea level rise through 2050, but our present and future emissions will have great bearing on sea level rise from 2050 to 2100 and beyond.
  • Even if global warming emissions were to drop to zero by 2016, sea level will continue to rise in the coming decades as oceans and land ice adjust to the changes we have already made to the atmosphere.
  • The greatest effect on long-term sea level rise will be the rate and magnitude of the loss of ice sheets, primarily in Greenland and West Antarctica, as they respond to rising temperatures caused by heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere.

I only wish the UCS's image of the persons drowning had been a woman and child, as seems to me more likely.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

Which is why I sent back the questionnaire that the Democratic National Committee sent me without putting numbers to all the issues they asked me to list in their order of importance. They didn't have one about global warming or environment. If they don't care or think it's one of their 10 or 12 most important issues to work on, what hope is there that government will do anything about what could have more impact on the future than anything else that they did list.