The subject of global warming is one that is fraught with controversies. There are several opinions that have been submitted by experts, scientists, leaders and governments worldwide. Some quarters believe that the phenomenon is actually over-hyped and oftentimes politically and financially motivated. A lot of scientists and experts have been accused of blowing things out of proportion where global warming is concerned. Conversely, several authorities have presented evidence to back up the claims of global warming. This evidence varies and spans across several spheres, but one particular area of concern due to the significant potential for problems, is global warming and sea levels.
Effects of Global Warming on Sea Levels
In simple terms, global warming causes a rise in sea levels. In order to properly understand this, a little tutorial in earth sciences is needed. Global warming can be defined as an increase in the temperature of the earths surface and the oceans. This rise in the earths temperature started around the middle of the twentieth century and the trend has continued steadily. The connection between global warming and sea levels is due to the increased temperature of the earths surface. This factor results in several changes that eventually contribute to rising sea levels.
How Global Warming Increases Sea Levels
Basically, the increased temperature results in a melting of ice and glaciers that are found in the cold regions of the world such as the Arctic. The melting of the ice shelves and glaciers results in an increase in sea levels because the melted ice flows into the seas and oceans. Apart from the melting of ice bodies, global warming and sea levels increases are also due to a thermal expansion of the worlds oceans or water bodies. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), thermal water expansion and melting of land ice amounted roughly to the same level as the increased sea level observed by the end of the twentieth century. Thermal expansion is expected to grow to greater percentage soon.
Evidence of Global Warming and Sea Levels Effect
Measurement of sea levels all around the world has revealed that truly the levels are rising. There are several ways of measuring an increase in sea level which would include tide gauge measurements and satellite sea level measurements. Putting all these together, the IPCC has actually predicted that sea levels could increase by 10-23 inches by the year 2100.
Effects of Rising Sea Levels
The rising sea levels have extensive effects on the ecosystem. These effects will particularly be felt more by people living in coastal areas. Rising levels result in flooding and an encroachment on land which leads to human displacement and loss of life. Apart from displacement, rising sea levels will also affect aquaculture and agriculture due to a decrease in water and soil quality. This will definitely have a negative impact on life as we know it. Other effects include increased outbreaks of water borne infections and loss of cultural resources.