If the current rate continues or accelerates, as they say is likely, the world's seas will rise at least a foot by the end of this century, causing widespread flooding and erosion of islands and low-lying coastal areas.As we noted in May, the evidence that the earth is getting hotter and that human activity is a major culprit is kinda, you know, firm. To the point that the Pentagon (as noted) considers it a national security issue. Why? One small reason might be that the highest concentration of oil refineries and pipelines in the US are in or near the rapidly vanishing Louisiana wetlands. It's hard enough restoring enough of these to keep those pipelines safe. I imagine it will get even harder with the sea level rising faster and that expanding planet-wide water getting even warmer thanks to the heat that's built up in our atmosphere. But don't worry, our consumption of approx. one quarter of the world's energy has nothing to do with it. Just as our proliferation and placement of military bases in Asia have nothing to do with oil.
"Even a small change will matter to a whole lot of coastal people," said Richard Alley, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University in State College. "If 15 percent of Greenland ice sheet were to melt, much of South Florida would be underwater."
A sea-level rise of an eighth of an inch per year - about a 1.2-inch rise every 10 years - may not sound like much, [Laury Miller, the chief of the Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,] said. But by the end of the century, that adds up to a foot, bringing not only higher seas but also more widespread erosion.
"The problem at the coastline is more than just the vertical rise of the water," Miller said. "The erosion effect over a century could be as much as 50 to 100 feet of coastline eroded, just with the numbers that we're seeing today."
The new evidence of rising seas comes from NASA satellites launched in the last two or three years, which measure the thickness of ice and the movement of water from land to the ocean.
NOAA also has acquired two years of precise ocean-temperature data from a worldwide fleet of 1,700 small robotic submarines that can dive as deep as 2,000 feet.
Bush's Mouth Is Full of Sand
On the heels of Our Beloved Leader blocking attempts to actually do something to slow the pace of global warming, and not long after learning that the administration partly cooked the gov't report on warming, there's this: New evidence from satellites and underwater robots shows that the sea level has risen more than one inch in the last decade, a rise that indicates a steep increase in the rate (unmentioned: whether more precise methods of collecting information nowadays could account for an apparent increase). Knight Ridder's Robert S. Boyd reports:
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