We keep releasing greenhouse gases into the air, and the oceans are warming. Oceans around the world have absorbed more than 90% of the heat emitted by these gases, yet the effect is taking its impact on our oceans. 2021 will set the record for the highest temperature recorded in the ocean.
The dramatic increase in sea levels due to global warming has devastating consequences for coastal areas. Seawater moving inland could cause devastating erosion and flooding, water pollution (called saltwater intrusion), and habitat loss for plants, fish, animals, humans, and other species. There are various such effects of sea level rise due to global warming
The global average sea level has increased by 8 and 9 inches (21-24 cm) since 1880.
In 2021, the global sea levels rose to a new record of 97 millimeters. If we can drastically reduce greenhouse emitting, US sea levels in 2100 are predicted to be approximately 0.6 meters (2 feet) more than in 2000.
The factors that influence sea level rise
Sea level rise is connected by three major causes that are all affected by global warming.
1. Temperature-related expansion:
The size of the ocean grows because of the temperature increase of the water. Nearly half the rise in sea levels in the last 25 years is due to the expansion of the tropical oceans.
2. Melting ice:
Glaciers and ice shelves across the globe melt and add water to oceans. Recently, however, temperatures have been much higher than average during summer, and snow has been less due to springs and winters that have been earlier. It has resulted in an imbalance in the loss of ice that is expected to persist even when global warming is slowed at less than 2°C over preindustrial levels and rising sea levels.
3. Loss of Greenland and Antarctic Ice sheets:
The enormous disappearance of the Antarctic sheet of ice is more detrimental to sea levels within the Northern Hemisphere than the comparable loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet because of gravity.
Scientists think that melting water from above and below flows beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, heating the ice sheet and making it move faster toward the ocean.
It is predicted that ice loss will continue to increase even in the event that global warming is slowed to less than 2 degC at preindustrial levels.
Effects of rising sea level due to global warming
In the United States, approximately 30 percent of the people live in coastal areas that are densely populated regions, where the ocean is a factor in coastal erosion, flooding, and hurricane-related catastrophes. In the world, 8 of the 10 most populous cities are located near the coast, per the United Nations. Its Atlas of the Seas shows that.
In coastal cities all over the world, rising sea levels are threatening local infrastructure and essential infrastructure that supports local jobs. Bridges, roads, subways, water supply as well as gas and oil wells, power plants, landfills, sewage treatment facilities–the list of possibilities is endless. All are affected by the rising levels of seawater.
1. Coastal ecosystems
Rising sea levels could have grave consequences for coastal areas. When seawater gets to land, it could cause devastating flooding and erosion, pollute the waters (called saltwater intrusion), and destroy habitats for plants, fish, animals, and humans.
Risks to coastal areas are constantly changing and are heightened by coastal infrastructure, community life, agriculture, and habitat changes. Sea level rise is threatening the tourism industry along the coast, degrading beaches and coastal properties through flooding and erosion. The loss of tourism on beaches could cost coastal communities in California thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.
2. The impact on habitats along the coast
Sea-level rise disruption and the increase in storm activity will diminish the marine ecosystems accessible to local species by degrading habitats as vegetation expands and drowns.
A study was conducted on 14 scenarios of sea level rise to 2030—long-term monitor records for 3 species of sea turtles and 3 shorebird species, and one seabird species. Five seabird species are considered vulnerable to sea level rise to determine the effects of sea level rise in the near future in nesting areas.
3. The most hazardous storms and Typhoons
The high levels of backwater mean destructive and deadly storms like the ones caused by hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and Hurricane Michael -have pushed further into the sands than before.
If extreme weather conditions occur, high sea levels close to significant cities indicate intense storms.
The monsoon-related floods occur regularly in Kolkata, the capital city of the Indian West Bengal state, home to around 15 million residents. As the sea level rises and climate change intensifies the frequency of rainfall, the city’s future is in jeopardy as some regions of Kolkata are just 1.5 meters above the sea level.
4. Sea level rises, posing health risks.
Over half (53 percent) of Massachusetts residents reside within coastal towns. Over the next 100 years, scientists predict that close to half a million people living along the Massachusetts coast could be in danger.
Sea level rise could be a severe and long-lasting impact on those living close to the ocean. Flooding could cause water to get into the home and cause mold growth, drowning, waterlogging, and other injuries.
As the sea level rises, salt water is introduced into the fresh water, making the groundwater saltier and the water quality worse. It can reduce crop yields as well as water quality.
It can also increase the chance of developing high blood pressure in addition to diarrheal and vector-borne diseases.
The higher sea levels can also lead to more frequent and destructive floods. They are often referred to as “freak floods” because they are not hazardous or fatal; however, they can be challenging and costly. Flooding is most common during the season of”high tides” (“king tides”) and storm surges, which push waters onto the coast.
The rising sea levels raise the likelihood of flooding and storms, which can result in drowning, injuries, and displacement. Major floods are 300%-900 times more likely than 50 years ago.
California is home to 260,000 people and $50 billion of assets. If the current threat to population growth, climate change, and development continues in the same direction, the number will almost double in 2100. It means 480,000 people and $100 billion in assets will be in danger.
6. Economic effects
Subsistence agriculture and fisheries are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of rising sea levels on ocean ecosystems, such as salinity intrusion and the loss of fisheries.
Low-income communities face a significant food security issue since salt intrusions disrupt the farming process and water supply.
Low-income people are likely to continue losing glaciers, even as global warming stays lower than preindustrial 2 degrees Celsius. Risk of displacement and disruption because of flooding or inundation due to rising sea water levels.
The city is located on Venice’s shores, which are built on 120 islands and constructed out of piles of timber that are sunk into the sea. As the sea rises, the city sinks at an average of 1 millimeter yearly.
Rising sea levels are just one of the consequences of climate change. As temperatures in the world continue to increase, more sea levels are expected. The amount and how long will depend on future carbon dioxide emissions. If we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sea level rise, it is predicted to be about 1-2 feet by the century’s close.