Sea-level rise a serious challenge

 

As a scientist, I recently analyzed NASA satellite measurements of global sea levels and accelerating melting rates in Greenland and Antarctica with David Enfield. We found that sea-level rise is headed for about 1 foot by 2060 and 2 feet to 3 feet by 2100 and continuing to accelerate after that.

Because heat energy is being absorbed as a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, the sea level will continue to rise as oceans warm and major ice sheets continue to melt. So far it’s not happening as fast as some more pessimistic scientists project. However, if observed rates continue, it still represents a serious challenge and potential crisis in the decades ahead.

To moderate this warming trend, we all must change the way energy is used and produced, eliminating the use of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. Sea-level rise and more extreme weather patterns are already happening worldwide and will worsen unless these essential measures are taken.

Barry N. Heimlich, research affiliate, Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University, Hollywood

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