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Monday, June 23, 2008

Faster ocean warming due to climate change – One of the reasons of catastrophic sea level rising:





Faster ocean warming due to climate change – One of the reasons of catastrophic sea level rising:

a. It has been reported recently by some of the climate research agencies in US, Australia, UK etc. that, oceans all over the world are getting warmed at a much faster rate than it used to be earlier or what was thought to be. It is estimated that, the rate of warming of world’s oceans is about 50% faster over the last half century than it was thought previously. Thus, world’s oceans have warmed more quickly due to climate change than expected.

b. It may be noted, higher the ocean temperatures, higher the expansion of ocean water – which contributes to rise in sea levels. Expansion ocean water means more floods, submerging smaller island nations, threatening to wreak havoc in low-lying places and densely-populated delta regions around the globe. A third of the world’s population living within 50 km of the coasts and a great proportion and a large proportion of them live much closer to the shoreline. Even a modest sea level rise could inundate low-lying regions, accelerate coastal erosion and force the relocation of communities and infrastructures.

c. Rising sea levels are driven by two things – (i) the thermal expansion of sea water, and (ii) additional water from melting sources of ice. Both these processes are caused by global warming.

d. For example, the glaciers or ice sheet that cover Arctic region contains enough water to raise world ocean levels by seven meters, which would bury sea-level cities from Dhaka to Shanghai in Asia and many more similar cities in other parts of the world. If the Greenland and the West and East Antarctica ice sheets were to melt, it would be enough to raise the sea level by approximately 65 meters. A one-foot rise in sea level might well translate to a 200-foot retreat of shoreline. Therefore, it could be imagined about the future coastal map how catastrophic it would be. Among the most vulnerable are countries with large populations in deltaic coastal regions such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and Egypt. Two populous island nations, the Philippines and Indonesia, have millions who face displacement from their homes from sea level rise. Several small island state nations including the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu in the Pacific could face extinction.

e. Global heating effects are strong in melting of snow and ice, rising global mean sea level, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. The rate of rise in temperatures depends on if and how fast emissions are reduced and on possible adverse feedbacks in the climate system. Temperatures are sure to rise faster in the next decades as well. Experts opine that, hot extremes, heat waves, and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent. It is certain that the ocean would become more acid from taking up more carbon dioxide.

f. Therefore, it is very important, now, to figure out and estimate how much each of these factors contributes to rising sea levels. Further, it is critically important to understand global warming, climate change and forecasting future ocean temperature rise, as well. The fact is, up to now there has been a perplexing gap between the projections of computer-based climate models, and the observations of scientific data gathered from the world’s oceans.

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