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The Alarming Rise of Sea Levels
Rising sea levels are a result of the burning of fossil fuels, along with various human activities, which release enormous amounts of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. These emissions have caused the Earth’s surface temperature to rise, and oceans absorb 80 per cent of additional heat.
Over the past century, the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) has risen up 4- 8 inches (10 to 20 cm). According to the National Geographic, data obtained from core samples, tide gauge readings and satellite measurements show that “the annual rate of rise over the past 20 years has been 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, 2x the average speed of the preceding 80 years.”
Rising Tide Facts
Current sea-level rise potentially affect human populations and the natural environment. The U.S. is a coastal nation with more than 12,000 miles of coastline; more than half of all Americans live in/around coastal cities and towns.
Nowadays, 13 of the world’s 20 largest cities are now located on a coast, and 25 per cent of the world’s population lives within 62 miles (100 kilometers) of a shoreline.
More than 600 million people live in coastal regions that are less than 10 meters above sea level, and 2/3 of the world’s cities have areas that are less than 10 meter above sea level.
In the U.S., nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide. Smaller cities face a severe risk of inundation with a 39-inch (1m) rise in sea level or more Sea levels changed little from AD zero until 1900 and began to climb during the 20th century.
Since 1900, sea levels have risen a rate of 1- 2.5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.1 inches) per year. Sea level has risen 4 to 10 inches this past century and is projected to rise up to three feet by 2100. For every foot of sea level rise, we can expect about 100 feet of coastal flooding.
As much as 33 per cent of coastal land and wetland habitats are likely to be lost in the next 100 years. The following cities are most at-risk for flooding induced by coastal rises: Atlantic City, NJ; Boston, MA; Brigantine, NJ; Cape Coral, FL; Coronado, CA; Cypress Lake, FL; East Boston, MA; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Foster City, CA; Freeport, TX;
**An ecological effort is required on all of parts, in order to reduce fossil emissions and habitat loss. If you wish to make a long-term, environmental difference, consider a career in environmental science. You can learn more about the types of environmental degrees available at DistanceLearning.org!**