Rising Sea Levels
One of the most significant challenges related to global climate change is rising sea levels. Since the beginning of the 20th-century, sea levels have gradually risen by 16 - 21 cm (6.3 - 8.3 in).
The rise in sea levels has also accelerated over time due to thermal expansion (the change in the volume and area of matter due to increased temperatures) and the melting of ice sheets and arctic glaciers.
Researchers have calculated that arctic sea ice has declined by 10% in the last 10 years. In addition to rising sea levels, this has altered the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean, destroying fisheries in northern countries and creating massive storms and hurricanes.
Coastlines around the world remain susceptible to flooding. Some at-risk coasts include the Miami shore, Rio de Janeiro, Osaka and Shanghai. The Egyptian city, Alexandria, faces a particular threat as much of its population exists in low lying coastal areas, which will likely be inundated within the next decade.
Our best hope for limiting the increase in sea levels is to reduce our carbon footprint. Initiatives in renewable energy and efficient power are critical components in reaching our emission goals.
For images of climate science and rising sea levels, click the links above. For information on how you can help deduce our carbon emissions head to the Environmental Defense Fund. (www.edf.org)