Global warming in ocean is the primary cause of current sea level rise. The temperatures are rising, heat trapping gases from human activity have increased global average temperature by 1.5 F since 1880 s. Furthermore the ice is melting, shrinking glaciers and ice sheets are adding water to the world’s ocean. Sea temperature are warmer than they were before. Study revealed that over 4.000 years the oceans had got about about 0.5 C warmer.
Ocean gets warmer and sea water expands as its temperature rises. It has been revealed that some contribution to global sea level rise from 1972-2008 are :
- melting land ice about 52%
- warmer ocean 38%
- other 10%
It has been increasing since the early 1990s as the pace of ice loss has accelerated. Heat trapping gases already in the atmosphere will cause unavoidable increases in temperature over the coming decades. It will rise sea level faster as oceans continue to warm and land ice melts more rapidly. While nature would be warming anyway, human activities have greatly accelerated this process.
The rise of ocean levels primarily linked to 2 factors and all triggered by this ongoing global climate change :
- Thermal expansion
One of 2 factors of causes of sea level rise is he four pollutants are primary contribution to temperature rise but policy makers tend to focus on carbon dioxide. This main culprit cycle through atmosphere and stuck for centuries in the troposphere and creates general warming temperature. As the sea temperature rise, warmer water expands. Trapped within a basin bounded by the continents, the water has nowhere to go but up.
- Melting Glaciers and Polar ice Cap
Glaciers reveal clues about global warming since it is so sensitive to temperature fluctuation accompanying climate change. Greenhouse gases are the cause of glacier retreat in the past 50 years. Coal burning, use of petroleum and other fossil fuels in transportation and industry affects our environment particularly with for the glacier and polar ice. Shrinking land ice, such as Ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica releasing more water into the ocean and will cause more harm to the wetlands.
As ocean water level rise rapidly, a small changes can destroy to marine life cycle, its ocean animal, ocean plants and general coastal habitats. If the ocean level rise reaches farther inland, these are some devastating effects that could occur :
- Destructive Sea Erosion
Natural protection are going to washed over and drowned if there are no obstruction along the retreat path. Barrier islands, beaches, sand dunes, salt marshes, mangroves stands and mud sand flats retreat inland are particularly vulnerable areas as sea level rises
- Wetland flooding
Hundreds of millions of people will be vulnerable as they are force to evacuate and abandon their home to relocate to safer place. It is beneficial if we are starting to shifting major infrastructure investments such as power plants, public works and school away from the coasts and to higher ground.
- Agricultural soil contamination
This is mainly because of the salt intrusion. The saltwater intrudes will contaminate irrigation supplies especially to the low-lying, gently sloping coastal areas.
- Lost habitats for animals and plants
Ice melts will endangered the status of polar bears. The ice covered northern Alaskan coastal waters already labeled as critical habitat because the sea ice is expected to hold out despite Arctic warming. In other place on the planet, wetland flooding will endanger animals and plants in a great way. We all need to educate ourselves about new organism so we can understand better what we are at risk of losing. Losing one species such as sea animal or sea plant will endangered environmental fluctuation and ruin the ecosystem cycle.
- Powerful storm surges
High tides and surges riding on ever-higher seas can strip away everything in their path. It can be very dangerous to people and coastal infrastructure. There are a lot of types of ocean storms
Solutions and Preventions
A lot of research and analysis are working hand in hand to gain opportunities from this future stressful condition and to prevent it to become more severe. They are also looking to gain socioeconomic improvements and its values over the long terms. we need to develop effective adaptation to preserve governance systems, infrastructure, business, suppy chains, ecosystem dependencies and personal assets.
Global sea level have risen over the past century, all we know is the pace is accelerating and are likely to keep creeping up. So the question will be : is there anything we can do to stop sea-level rise? Here are some concrete solutions that we can do to at least slowing climate change :
- Reduce global greenhouse
Greenhouse produces Carbon dioxide which substantially warms the earth. The other four pollutants – black carbon, methane, ozone and hydro fluorocarbons cycle around atmosphere more quickly than carbon dioxide. However, carbon dioxide is the main culprit in rising earth temperature. Carbon-dioxide traps more heat on the planet and the ocean get warmer and expand in.
- Gas emmissions
Reduced emission of heat trapping gasses will slows melting of glaciers and ice sheets but it is still unlikely to stop further rises altogether. Cutting gas emission aggressively could reduce the amount of ocean-level rise but it will keep rising for centuries no matter what we do. All we can do is to slows the pace but we can’t stop it entirely.
- Restore forests
Restoring nature could be the key to fight climate change. Changing human behavior is as important as developing renewable energy and make our general lifestyle more sustainable. One of many energy saving methods is to go green. White roods, personalized windmills, decorating holidays with LED lights are a few of energy saving techniques. It is smart, cost-effective and going to help our planet. Raise awareness of energy efficient lifestyle to society is one doable solutions to protect our planet.
- Evacuate everyone off all the coastal area
By evacuating gradually will lower hassle and chaos when the actual times comes and to buy times to create new jobs and homes for the evacuee’s in their new place. Highly populated coastal area in developing countries needs to migrate to low lying areas. Countries such as India, China, Indonesia and parts of Africa would affected greatly by climate and sea level changes. The number of migration of people in going to increase a lot if we don’t start right away.
- Build sea walls
It is impractical to protect every coastal city to do so but it can be a very strong solution if only we can cooperate with each other. Even so we can’t keep building higher levees and end up living behind 10-meter walls
- Ridding the earth of plastic
It has been knows that pieces of plastic are often mistaken for food among ocean animals and desert animal. Plastic brings lethal consequences and leaching chemicals such as bis phenol A into the water. Cutting down aggressively of plastic use in society is nearly impossible but we need to identify new alternative materials that would help improve biodegradability, recycling plastic and gradually banning the use of plastic bags.
- Learning and research
Investing in research so we can know what is changing and what we can do about it, such as tropical disease management, food crop adaptation, high latitude ecosystems and hydrology. Learning about microorganism and ecosystems would help us realize the risk of what we are going to lose.
Instead of waiting for the worst to happen, engineers, architech, urban planner, researcher are working hand in hand to design and maintain system to protect all species when climate change’s destructive byproducts happens.
The choices we make today will determine how high sea level rise this century, how fast it occurs, and how much time we have to protect our communities. The rate of ocean rise is affected by global, regional and local factors. Most of all, nature and climate change have inseparable connection, it has threatened all with its destructive symptoms and offers opportunity to alter human behaviour and raise awarness as well.