Satellites show global warming and accelerated sea-level rise

FILE – In this Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, the intersection of 8th Street and Atlantic Avenue is flooded in Ocean City, N. J., after the storm surge of Superstorm Sandy flooded much of the city. New satellite research shows that the global warming is making the seas rise at a higher pace. Scientists say that the melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating, sea level rise, so that by the year 2100 on average, the oceans will be two metres higher than today, and probably even more. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — the Melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are accelerating the already rapid pace of sea-level rise, new satellite research shows.

At the current rate, the oceans on average at least 2 feet (61 centimeters) higher by the end of the century, compared with today, according to the researchers, who published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Sea level rise is caused by the warming of the ocean and the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps. The research, based on 25 years of satellite data, shows that tempo is raised, originating mainly from the melting of the massive ice sheets. It confirms scientists’ computer simulations and is in line with the predictions of the United Nations, regularly releases climate change reports.

“It is a big deal” is, because the expected sea level rise is a conservative estimate, and it is probably higher, said lead author Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado.

Outside scientists said even small changes in sea level can cause flooding and erosion.

“Any flooding ensure that communities along the coast for 2100 could occur in the coming decades,” Oregon State University flooding expert Katy Serafin said in an e-mail.

The 3 inch (7.5 cm) of sea level rise in the last quarter-century, about 55 percent is from warmer water expanding, and the rest is from the melting of the ice.

But the process is accelerating, and more than three-quarters of that gear since 1993 is due to the melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, the study shows.

Such as the weather and the climate, there are two factors in sea-level rise: year-on-year small rises and falls that are caused by natural disasters, and greater for the long-term upward trends that are linked to human-induced climate change. Nerem’s team removed the natural effects of the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, which temporarily cooled the Earth and the climate phenomena El Nino and La Nina, and found the upward trend.

Sea level rise, more than the temperature, is a better indicator of climate change in action, said Anny Cazenave, director of the Earth science in the International Space Science Institute in France, who edited the study. Cazenave is one of the pioneers of the space on the basis of the sea level research.

The global sea levels were stable for about 3000 years until the 20th century, when they rose and then accelerated as a result of the global warming of the earth caused by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute in Germany, who was not part of the study.

Two meters of sea level rise by the end of the century “would have a major impact on places like Miami and New Orleans, but I still believe that if catastrophic” because those cities can survive at your own cost, amount of rising seas, under normal circumstances, Nerem said.

But when a storm hits like 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, sea level rise on top of the storm surge can lead to a record-setting damage, researchers said.

A number of scientists of the American Geophysical Union meeting last year, said Antarctica may be melting faster than predicted by Monday study.

Greenland has led to three times more sea level rise than Antarctica so far, but the melting of ice on the southern continent is responsible for one of the gear.

“Antarctica appears to be less stable than we thought a few years ago,” Rutgers climate scientist Robert Kopp said.

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