Sea levels

Last Sunday I attended a gathering in Falmouth sponsored by 350MA, a group concerned with, among other things, the rise in sea levels and the melting of glaciers in places like Greenland that contribute to it.

Yes, I know there is a lot of discussion about Global Warming and man’s responsibility for it, or if it should be more correctly termed "Climate Change” so people during a snow storm aren’t allowed to exhibit their ignorance by asking, “where’s that global warming” as if it is a matter of a snow storm or a cold day.

But, obviously, something is going on, and even if man is not the sole cause of climate change, what is wrong with finding out how much man is responsible for it, and looking into what can be done to deal with what we are responsible for?

There are those who deny there is any climate change, but one just has to see who fills their campaign coffers to see why they insist on climate change denial.

Science shows that due to thermal expansion and melting of land-based ice, sea levels are rising.

Obviously on Cape Cod, this should be a concern.

Climate change is causing the oceans to absorb a lot of extra heat (up to 90%). Those of us who watched Mr. Wizard, or paid any attention to the most basic science classes know that when water warms, it expands. This makes the volume of water expand, and sea levels rise.

One of the speakers, who actually goes to where the glaciers are, and has been doing so for years to study them, their progress, and their loss which causes run offs into the oceans and adds to the rise, explained that rising sea levels are the greatest threat posed by climate change because they threaten low-lying sea coasts with inundation from which inhabitants will have to migrate, while coastal cities and ports could be flooded, as could cities near tidal estuaries.

Besides melting glaciers, it should be remembered that Greenland and the Antarctic contain around 70% of all the freshwater on Earth, and that a loss of just one per cent of the Greenland ice cap would result in a sea level rise of 6cm and a diluting of the ocean waters.

Melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could add around 6 meters to sea levels, and if the East Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt along with it, the amount of sea level rise could be around 70 meters.

What needs to be done to help prevent a rise in the oceans, and which needs to get the support of congress where it is needed so the oceans either stop rising or at least slow down is to control the emission of CO2 as it is those emissions that are playing a part in effecting climate change.

Decreasing CO2 emissions is something humans can do.

We may not be able to stop climate change completely, and there may be many reasons for it, including natural cycles, but is it so wrong to take steps to do what we can to not contribute to it where we can?
 

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