Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sea level rise - How much, when and where

Today we are hearing more and more disturbing news about ever-increasing sea level rise due to the global warming. Sea level rise isn't only result of ice melting that is caused because of increased average temperatures but also the result of thermal expansion of the sea water that again happens as the result of higher temperatures.

In 2001. Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change estimated that by the year 2100, global warming will cause increase of sea levels rise of 9 to 88 cm, but according to latest results of scientific study from a UK/Finnish team which has built a computer model linking temperatures to sea levels for the last two millennia, sea level could rise significantly more, even up to one and the half meter.

These findings were presented at a major science conference in Vienna (April 2008) where Svetlana Jevrejeva, one of the lead members of research team said: "For the past 2,000 years, the (global average) sea level was very stable, it only varied by about 20cm, but by the end of the century, we predict it will rise by between 0.8m and 1.5m.

Scientists associate this mainly with the rapid melting of ice sheets that is taking place in many parts of the world, especially in Greenland and West Antarctic, that are losing its ice mass more rapidly than expected. Lot of evidence point out that sea level rise will increase by at least one meter by 2100 and this could cause serious problems for many low-lying countries, and especially those whose economies don't have enough funds to build effective sea defense systems.

This could be a serious problem for many people that live in Ganges delta in Asia, and this is the home of many people. Poor country Bangladesh could be the most vulnerable since eighty to 90% of Bangladesh is within a metre or so of sea level, and Bangladesh doesn't have necessary funds to defend from such large sea level rise.

Yet again, the poorest will suffer.

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