A NASA study has revealed that sea levels are likely rising faster than previously thought, which means that low-lying coastal cities in the United States could experience flooding more regularly in the coming decades.
According to the study, which analyzed three decades of satellite observations, by 2050, sea levels along the coasts of the contiguous United States could rise up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) above current waterlines, according to the research team. he said in a statement (Opens in a new tab). The Gulf Coast and Southeast are expected to be severely affected, and are likely to experience increased storm and tidal flooding in the near future, according to the study, published Oct. 6 in the journal Oceans. Earth and Environment Communications (Opens in a new tab).
The findings support the “higher range” scenarios developed in February at the multi-agency Technical report on sea level rise (Opens in a new tab). The report indicated that “notable sea level rise” may hit the coasts of the United States within the next 30 years, projecting an average rise of 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35 cm) in the eastern seaboard; 14 to 18 inches (35 to 45 cm) for the Gulf Coast; and 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) for the west coast.”
The NASA study built on methods used in the previous multi-agency report, and was led by a team of researchers and scientists based in Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Opens in a new tab) in California, and is dedicated to exploring the deepest recesses of space, as well as using satellites to “advance understanding” of Earth.
NASA research harnessed satellite altimeter measurements of sea level elevation and then correlated them with it National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Opens in a new tab) (NOAA) tide gauge records dating back more than 100 years. As a result, NASA can confidently state that its satellite readings are not anomalous, and that they are fully supported by results on the ground.
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While the findings of the new study are undoubtedly cause for concern, Jonathan Overbeck (Opens in a new tab)Projections never came out of thin air, suggested an interdisciplinary climatologist at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the research.
“The NASA findings seem robust and not surprising,” he said in an email. “We know sea level rise is accelerating and we know why.” “More and more of the polar ice is melting, and that’s over the oceans that are expanding as they warm. It’s clear that sea level rise is only going to get worse as long as we allow Climate change continue.”
This point of view has been shared by David Holland (Opens in a new tab)climate physicist and professor Maths at New York University who was not involved in the study. “The quality of the satellite data is excellent, so the results are reliable,” Holland told Live Science in an email. “The study shows that the global ocean is rising, and more than that, the rise is accelerating. The projected rise of the Gulf Coast by about one foot by 2050 is phenomenal. This could make tornado“Storm-related storms are worse than they are now.”
Other factors may also contribute to rising sea levels along the US coast. The study noted that issues associated with sea level rise could be “amplified by natural variables in the oceans.” a land“such as the effects of El Niño and La Niña by the mid-2000s, when every US coast is set to experience” more severe high-tide flooding due to fluctuations in the moonThe clock cycle occurs every 18.6 years,” according to the statement.
The effects of El Niño – rising surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near South America that can lead to increased precipitation – and La Niña – cooling of ocean surface waters in the Pacific Ocean – can make accurate forecasting of sea level rise a challenge, and can skew readings. Ben Hamlington, NASA’s sea level change team leader, noted that natural events and phenomena will always need to be taken into account, and said that all projections will inevitably improve as satellites collect data over time.
Despite the study’s grim findings, some experts hope that influential and high-profile research like this will force decision-makers to focus on addressing the current climate crisis and encourage the public to demand the introduction of effective measures.
“It is impossible to ignore. I think so [increased flooding] It stimulates action, as many coastal communities are discussing these issues and how to respond to them.” Robert Nichols (Opens in a new tab), director of the UK’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, who was not involved in the study. “We have the means to deal with this challenge in terms of mitigation in order to achieve global stability Temperatures and the slow – but not complete – rise in sea level, which, unfortunately, will continue for centuries due to Heating We’ve already tested it.”
Ultimately, humanity will need to adapt to the climate change that is transforming our planet’s oceans and seas.
“That could involve retractions in some places, ground uplift in others, and defenses in others,” Nichols told Live Science. “There is no single solution that can be applied everywhere. If we follow this path the future is manageable. Likewise, if governments and society ignore these issues, the future will be a real mess.”
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