Sea level rise is more dangerous than what you‘re aware of

Sea level rise is more dangerous than what you‘re aware of

NASA warns, “It will be much worse than what the IPCC predicted in 2013.”


A polar bear passes on a melting iceberg in the Arctic. (Photo by Korea Polar Research Institute)
A polar bear passes on a melting iceberg in the Arctic. (Photo by Korea Polar Research Institute)

Sea level rise shows how serious climate change is to mankind. As global warming has become the most talked-about environmental issue, sea level rise has become an important issue as well.

Recently, the US space agency (NASA) pointed out that the problem concerning the existing sea level rise is much more serious than expected. After analyzing past data with state-of-the-art equipment, the results state that it will be impossible to stop sea level rise in the future and that the rise rate will exceed far beyond the prediction made in the past.

On the 27th (local time), NASA stated through its website that it had made a new visualization based on 23 years of sea level data—the entire collection of satellite observations. The French space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales [CNES], the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites [EUMETSAT] participated together in the process of collecting and analyzing the data.

Based on recent data, NASA revealed that seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches (7.62 cm) since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches (23 cm) due to natural variation. The problem is, according to the findings of NASA, an unavoidable rise of several feet in sea level in the future.

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] issued an assessment based on a consensus of international researchers that stated global sea levels would likely rise from 1 to 3 feet by 2100. However, NASA has given a new warning that the sea level will exceed beyond the prediction of the IPCC, and that the key question is how high it will rise.

NASA scientists say there are three reasons for sea level rise: rise in sea temperature, enormous glaciers melting in the polar regions and ice caps melting on mountains. Among these three, the most serious one is the melting of glaciers in the polar regions; since ice caps can increase for decades to come, their effect on sea level rise can decrease.

NASA’s analysis of satellite images and data shows that an average of 303 gigatons tons of ice sheets in Greenland, a part of the Arctic, disappeared every year for the past decade. And in Antarctica, an average of 118 gigatons tons of ice has melted every year. The Arctic and Antarctica play the role of a device that maintains the stability of the earth. The fact that the ice that should be at the poles are melting and entering the seas means that the earth is losing homeostasis. We cannot help but give heed to the warning of scientists, “We need to prepare for the worst.”

Reporter Lee Seul []