On the Rise

Globally, eight of the world’s ten largest cities are near an ocean, as reported by the U.N. Atlas of the Oceans. In the United States, almost forty percent of the population lives in relatively high-population-density coastal areas, where sea levels play a major a role in flooding, erosion and storm hazards. According to chapter two of The National Academies Press, there are three main contributors to rising sea levels: Thermal expansion, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps and ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica. Higher sea levels mean more frequent nuisance floods, which are floods that inconvenience civilized areas, overwhelming drain systems and eroding infrastructure. Nuisance flooding is predicted to be over 300 percent more frequent among coastal cities, compared to just 50 years ago.

Average temperatures have risen about 1 degree celsius since the 1800s, last year being the hottest ever recorded, surpassing the mark set the year before, as stated by Climate Central. National Geographic scientists report worldwide sea levels have been increasing at a rate of about 0.14 inches per year since the early 1990s.

Even though many people are hopeful of combatting the rise of sea levels, there is not much that can be done momentarily to halt the process. As stated in a Climate Central Article, even if humans quickly stop polluting the atmosphere, potentially lowering temperature rise or at least keeping it stable around 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 degrees Fahrenheit), seas may still rise by an additional 9 to 24 inches within the next century.


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