Sea level will rise, still if we cut emission

13 Jul

Sea levelsPlummeting emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to the fact that global temperatures and sea levels stop rising. Is not it?

Not exactly. Modeling conducted by the staff of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (USA) showed that, although the reduction in emissions can stabilize the global temperature, sea level rise would continue for centuries.

Sea level increases with increasing temperature – this is clear. But how is this possible if the surface of the planet is no longer hot? Several factors.

According to researchers, the biggest contribution is the thermal expansion of sea water. Warm water at the surface sinks slowly, mixing with the cooler, resulting in a fairly large amount of hot water. After that, it takes some time to come to the oceans full equilibrium with the atmospheric conditions.

Scientists examined several scenarios – from complete inactivity of people (in this case by the end of the century five degrees warmer) to the pumping of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (which will stop global warming, even when our great-grandchildren). Most average forecast suggests that the warming is stabilized by 2200, reaching three degrees above pre-industrial levels.

According to simulation results, even at the best level of the sea will still grow for another three hundred years.

Melting glaciers will also contribute to rising sea levels, but its magnitude is difficult to predict. In particular, we do not know the physics responsible for the stability of ice sheets, although a number of empirical models created. Researchers have used one of them – described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.

Accounting for the contribution of ice almost twice raised the sea level in all scenarios. However, a high degree of uncertainty does not allow to operate with precise figures. You can only talk about the fact that the thermal expansion of water alone gives a lower estimate of growth in sea level.

Results are very approximate. If we do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions, by 2300 sea levels could rise by almost two and a half meters at least and more than ten meters in the worst case.

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Earth, Global warming, Nature, Ocean


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