New NASA study finds dramatic acceleration in sea level rise

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Based on new analysis, international sea degree is not rising steadily — it is getting sooner yearly.

The findings, which got here from an evaluation of 25 years’ price of satellite tv for pc knowledge, are unhealthy information for all low-lying areas threatened by the encroaching ocean: It could rise twice as excessive by 2100 as beforehand estimated. 

The examine, revealed on Feb. 12 within the journal Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, concluded that within the subsequent 80 years, the ocean degree could rise by as much as 26 inches (65 centimeters) on account of local weather change, reducing a lot bigger chunks from the coastal areas than beforehand estimated. [Which Melting Glacier Threatens Your City the Most? NASA Tool Can Tell You]

“That is virtually definitely a conservative estimate,” mentioned Steve Nerem, a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences on the College of Colorado Boulder, who led the NASA Sea Stage Change staff that carried out the examine.

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“Our extrapolation assumes that sea degree continues to alter sooner or later because it has during the last 25 years,” Nerem mentioned in an announcement. “Given the big modifications we’re seeing within the ice sheets as we speak, that is unlikely.”

The examine incorporates knowledge from the Topex/Poseidon and Jason-1, Jason-2 and Jason-Three satellite tv for pc missions, managed collectively by NASA, the French area company CNES, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

The researchers’ evaluation revealed that whereas within the 1990s, the ocean degree was rising by roughly zero.1 inch (2.5 millimeters) per 12 months, as we speak it rises by zero.13 inches (Three.4mm) per 12 months.

“The Topex/Poseidon/Jason altimetry missions have been primarily offering the equal of a world community of almost half 1,000,000 correct tide gauges, offering sea floor peak info each 10 days for over 25 years,” mentioned paper co-author Brian Beckley, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Middle in Maryland, mentioned within the assertion.

Based on the researchers, the ocean degree rise is brought on by two phenomena — the thermal enlargement of water and the melting of glaciers, together with glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. 

The thermal enlargement is a pure results of the huge physique of water that’s the international ocean being uncovered to growing ambient temperatures. The examine discovered that thermal enlargement alone had pushed the ocean degree up by 2.eight inches (7cm) over the previous 25 years. 

The principle contributor to the accelerating tempo, nonetheless, is the quick melting of the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers, the examine concluded.

“As this local weather knowledge file approaches three a long time, the fingerprints of Greenland and Antarctic land-based ice loss are actually being revealed within the international and regional imply sea degree estimates,” Beckley mentioned.

The researchers mentioned that the velocity of the acceleration shouldn’t be constant and might be affected by geological occasions comparable to volcanic eruptions or by local weather patterns comparable to El Niño and La Niña.

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