The world is sinking, being engulfed by the ocean and at now at an increasingly alarming rate. Scientists are warning that they could increase by more than 20 feet if efforts against global warming fail to control the 2 degrees rise of greenhouse gases. If temperatures are allowed to rise the way that they are, cities in the coastal region from New York to Miami to Bangkok are at risk for increased flooding and storm surges. Even the space agency, NASA, fears its launch pads could submerged in water because of climate change.
The country most likely to sink first is Maldives – an archipelago of almost 1,200 coral islands located south-southwest of India. Most of the islands lie just 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) above sea level. The country’s leader is already seeking to buy land abroad to shift his population if the worst does come true.
Many of these coastal regions are already experiencing increased water levels. Studies from United Nations indicated that the rate of global sea level has intensified since the global warming level doubled in 1990s.
Researchers pointed out that this increasing sea level is due to the melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
Anders Carlson, geologist from Oregon State University, said, “It takes time for the warming to whittle down the ice sheets but it doesn’t take forever. There is evidence that we are likely seeing that transformation begin to take place now.”
Peter Clark, paleoclimatologist and co-author of the study, said that they are not sure about the time frame of rising of sea levels, because the Co2 level in the Earth’s atmosphere continues to rise.
He added that maybe it would take many centuries to a few millennia to witness the full impact of melting ice sheets.
The study imposed a challenge on looking ahead to better understand how the ice sheets respond to these temperature increases, according to the authors.
Andrea Dutton, geochemist from University of Florida and lead author on the study, commented that it is important to guide policy makers to have a solid plan to slow down the rising sea level.
She added, “We want to know will sea levels rise gradually as ice sheets retreat or will they rise very suddenly due to rapid ice sheet collapse?”
In December, leaders from around the world would gather in Paris to find consensus on reducing carbon gas emissions.