The Thaw and Sea Levels
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the sea level is rising faster than it did 50 years ago and may get worse any time now. This means that by the end of this century water could reach almost one meter inland.
To find the source of this threat one has to look at global warming caused by climate change, which in turn causes the rise in sea levels from three different sources of action:
1º.- Thermal Expansion, because when water warms up it tends to expand, which means that the oceans occupy more space.
2º.- The melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctic is being accelerated by global warming. This process is accelerated by fresh water flowing on the surface which acts as a lubricant for the ice streams and makes them slide forward faster. In other words, fresh water filtered to the base of the ice sheets makes them melt and slide towards the sea.
3º.- The large glacial ice formations and ‘polar ice caps’ melt and do not return to their usual form. Previously they melted during the summer but regained their solid state when winter returned. Now, because of global warming, snowfalls are lighter, winters are late and springs come earlier, so that the ice does not come back together again.
The effects of sea level rise are already being felt. First of all, water is invading coastal areas more and more, causing soil erosion and threatening farm lands, homes or vacation areas. It has also led to the flooding of wetlands and the pollution of aquifers, which affects the flora and fauna of every area and causes loss of habitat for fish, birds, plants and many other species.
A sea with a higher level causes storms, unleashes hurricanes and creates more disastrous atmospheric phenomena that become serious threats to the populations in their path. From the social perspective, the threat of a rise in sea level causes hundreds of millions of people living in coastal communities to tremble, because if the water continues to rise they will be forced to leave their homes and move to other areas.
Finally, low-lying islands will be swallowed by the oceans leading to the disappearance of large areas of land and even entire countries.
Addendum: It is unfortunate that in the face of a phenomenon as clear as the melting of our Planet, the top political leaders the world over have not been able to agree to take steps to delay or avoid this catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions.
It is incredible that the human passion for material and short-term things will lead to the destruction of the human race, its habitat and all the wonderful species that still exist.