Study: Rising Sea Level Puts 150 Million at Risk

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, May 12, 2014
Photo courtesy National Oceanography Centre

For 150 million people living in coastal areas around the world, rising sea level will become a genuine threat, according to a new international study which found evidence the sea level has been rising over the past 200 years – and continues to rise.

Ocean warming and glaciers/ice sheets melting are the causes of the sea level rise, said Dr. Svetlana Jevrejeva from the U.K.’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC), who coauthored the scientific research paper “Trends and acceleration in global and regional sea levels since 1807,” which examines tide records from 1807 onward to determine global sea level changes.

“There is a huge inertia in the climate system, so even if we stop the warming of our planet now - if we stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere today – the global sea level will continue to rise for the next few hundred years,” Dr. Jevrejeva explained. “We are facing a colossal challenge - to deal with carbon emissions as soon as possible.”

With about 150 million people living within one meter of high tide globally, sea level rise is one of the most damaging aspects of a warming climate. The vulnerability of extensively populated coastal areas, the threats to infrastructure, and population migration are major concerns for society, Dr. Jevrejeva said.

“Fifteen of the world's 20 megacities, with populations of more than 10 million, are sensitive to sea level rise and increased coastal storm surges. Soon we will have to make very hard decisions in the U.K. and globally: which coastal area is going to be protected and which could be abandoned? It means that as a civilization we are not able to protect some of our cultural heritage, unique beaches and cliffs.” 

“Trends and acceleration in global and regional sea levels since 1807” was published in the Global and Planetary Change journal and coauthored by Dr. Jevrejeva and JC Moore from the Beijing Normal University in China, A Grinsted from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, AP Matthews from NOC and G Spada from the Dipartimento di Scienze di Base e Fondamenti, Università degli Studi “Carlo Bo” in Urbino, Italy.

The study looked at global sea level reconstruction based on 1,277 tide gauge records dating from 1807 to 2010. Tide gauge observations suggest that sea level rose by 6 cm during the nineteenth century, 19 cm during the twentieth century, and the sea level has continued to rise this century.

 Sea level is the integrated response of the climate system to changes in the atmosphere, cryosphere and ocean. It could be considered as an indicator of the health of our planet. Over the past 2000 years, sea level was almost stable but since the 1800s it has started to rise.

The ocean has stored over 90 percent of the energy in the climate system, resulting in ocean thermal expansion and hence sea level rise. In addition, the warming ocean is playing an important role in supplying the heat to the Polar Regions, contributing to the ice loss from ice sheets.

To understand the past sea level rise the researchers used the historical tide gauge records collected by the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), based in Liverpool at the National Oceanography Centre. Established in 1933, the PSMSL has been responsible for the collection, publication, analysis and interpretation of sea level data from the global network of tide gauges.

Dr. Jevrejeva said, “Credit goes to all tide gauge operators, local authorities, national data centers and individuals for making these data available for the PSMSL. Scientists, including myself, working for PSMSL take care of these data and make them available for the wider scientific community. PSMSL data have been employed intensively in studies such as those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr. Jevrejeva is currently working on future sea level projections in coastal areas globally for the EU project RISES-AM. In that project, the team is providing estimates of sea level rise by 2100 for the high-end scenarios, which is where the temperature rises more than 2⁰ Celsius.

The full paper “Trends and acceleration in global and regional sea levels since 1807” in Global and Planetary Change, vol 113, pp 11-22, is available at  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818113002750.
 

Maritime Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

Crowley’s 2nd LNG ConRo Ship Ahead of Schedule

Shipbuilder VT Halter Marine, Inc. announced construction has started early for the second liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered ConRo ship, Taíno, for Crowley Holdings, Inc.

Overnight Cruise Ship Visits Suspended in White Bay

The New South Wales (NSW) Port Authority has suspended all overnight cruise ship visits to White Bay until the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has regulated

ISS, Brightwell Introduce Onboard Cashless Payment System

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), the world-leading marine, cargo and supply chain solutions provider, has teamed up with Brightwell Payments, Inc. to introduce

News

US Oil Contango Vanishing as Supply Glut Shifts Abroad

The U.S. oil market is on the brink of returning to a more bullish footing known as backwardation for the first time in six months, with the discount for prompt

Mexico Removes Bid Limit on Shallow Water Oil Tenders

Mexico's oil regulator on Friday voted to remove limits on how many blocks companies can bid on in the first 14 shallow water exploration contracts up for grabs later this summer.

Wärtsilä Acquires L-3 MSI

Wärtsilä completes acquisition of L-3 Marine Systems International    Wärtsilä Corporation announced that its acquisition of the Germany based L-3 Marine Systems

Marine Science

Lerwick Port Promoting Shetland Fishing Industry

The importance of investment in the Shetland fishing industry has been highlighted today by Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson. The industry – white fish,

VIKING’s Top Safety Offerings at Nor-Shipping

Marine safety equipment leader VIKING Life-Saving Equipment will appear in force at Nor-Shipping 2015, displaying both innovative products and services that

US Forecaster Predicts Below-average Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Atlantic Ocean will see a below-average number of hurricanes this season due to cooler seas and a strong El Niño effect, the U.S. government weather forecaster announced on Wednesday.

Arctic Operations

Keel Laid for Russia’s Next Generation Icebreaker

The world’s biggest nuclear-powered icebreaker keel laying ceremony took place of at the Baltic Shipyard on 26 May 2015. Heads of Atomfflot, the Baltic Shipyard

US Senators Want a Stop to Arctic Drilling

Eighteen U. S. senators have urged the Obama’s administration to halt Shell’s Arctic drilling plans saying that it is an unacceptable and irresponsible decision, says a report in Reuters.

Arctic Sea Ice Decline

Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is at its lowest May level since records began in the 1980s, says Al Jazeera.    The lowest levels in the history of Arctic sea ice

Ocean Observation

US Forecaster Predicts Below-average Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Atlantic Ocean will see a below-average number of hurricanes this season due to cooler seas and a strong El Niño effect, the U.S. government weather forecaster announced on Wednesday.

China Builds-up Naval Power

China has outlined a first ever "white paper" on military strategy that outlined a more robust posture for its blue-water navy, and warned of threats to its security

UNOLS Seeks Fleet Improvement Committee Chair

The University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) informs it is seeking nominations to fill a Fleet Improvement Committee (FIC) Chair position.   The position,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1801 sec (6 req/sec)