Global Sea Level Rise Has Been Underestimated For A Very Long Time

Perito Moreno Glacier, in Argentina. K_Boonnitrod/Shutterstock

Generally speaking, there are two reasons the oceans of the world are increasingly encroaching upon our shores. Thanks to our remarkable ability to expunge greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, massive ice sheets – particularly Greenland’s – are melting off the continents and collapsing into the sea. At the same time, rising temperatures cause the oceans to physically expand.

Based on these mechanisms, it was thought that gauges placed near the warm waters surrounding disintegrating ice sheets would best represent global sea level rise. If the Earth was a stationary tub, then this would indeed be the case, as sea level would rise evenly throughout.

However, due to the rotation of the Earth, as well as its uneven surface gravity, the same does not apply on the global scale. Weirdly, sea level drops in regions containing the melting ice sheets and rises on the other side of the world.

If there were gauges placed in the Southern Hemisphere in the 20th century, scientists would have picked up on this earlier. Unfortunately, the study serves to highlight the consequences of that miscalculation – sea level rise is happening faster than we’ve previously thought.

The bottom line is that the threat of man-made climate change just got even more daunting. If you want to do something about it, then you have several options, but the most effective would be to vote for lawmakers that take the phenomenon seriously.

If you are in the US, by the way, that lawmaker is clearly Hillary Clinton. If you live along the coastline and really enjoy being battered by hurricanes and getting your feet wet inside your own house, then by all means vote for Donald Trump.

It's coming to get you, coastline dwellers. Peter Wollinga/Shutterstock

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