According to recent revelations made by NASA scientists, the consequences of the global rise in sea levels might be even more frightening than the worst predictions made by top climate models i.e. models that don’t justify fast breaking up of glaciers and ice sheets. What’s more significant is that sea level rise has already begun. As a result, for NASA scientists, the open question right now is at what pace the seas will be rising from now on.
At this moment, warming of seas and expansions of waters caused by it make up around a third of global sea level rise. According to Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who happens to be the lead scientist of the Sea Level Change Team of NASA, when heat travels beneath the ocean, it starts expanding exactly like mercury of a thermometer.
Nerem informed that the other two-third of global sea level rise is taking place as a result of melting of mountain glaciers and ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.
Data gathered by a small group of NASA satellites has revealed that the overall mass of the ocean is increasing. These satellites keep on changing their position with respect to each other as ice and water on our planet realign affecting the force of gravity.
Nerem added that he increase in the ocean’s mass is eventually resulting in global sea level rise of around 0.07 inches or 1.9 millimeters every year.
However, the open question still remains the same i.e. at what speed the sea level is increasing.
University of California glaciologist Eric Rignot, who is also a scientist at the Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, said that ice sheets are making the process of sea level rise faster, much more than what was anticipated earlier.
According to Rignot, there’s such a remarkable difference between predictions and reality because we have never seen a massive ice sheet collapsing, and, therefore, there’s not a single good model showcasing effects of such collapses.
UN (United Nations) organization Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which performs the job of creating climate change models, previously predicted that if global warming persists unabated, the next century might see the sea levels rise by up to 6.4 meters or 21 feet.