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World Sea-Level Rise
Survive rising sea levels and you will avoid one of the catastrophic consequences of Climate Change, with frightening implications for coastal cities.
Global mean sea levels rose between 21 to 24 centimetres in the period from 1880 and 2020. Science tells us the rate of sea-level rise is now increasing at a much faster rate, as a result of the greenhouse effect.
Cause of Sea-Level Rise
The cause of the ‘anthropogenic climate change’ that is driving sea-level rise is human behaviour in burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
As the world’s oceans heat up, the water temperature rises. This increases the water volume, because warm water expands and because warmer waters are causing the melting of glaciers and polar ice.
Surviving Rising Sea Levels in the Inter-Tidal Zone
Increasing sea levels become most apparent to residents of coastal cities at times of king tides and extreme weather events.
In coastal cities, when the tide is very high, rainfall has nowhere to drain to. So heavy rain at the same time as a king tide will lead to widespread flooding. Consequently, such flooding is now becoming more frequent in countries around the globe.
Monitoring Sea Level Rise
Scientific organisations monitor rates at which our oceans are rising. For instance NASA provides this data to the public via their Global Climate Change website.
The Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) is a network of tide gauges around the world that was established to monitor the global sea level change.
Over 70 countries participate in this network. Sea level data is useful for coastal protection during events such as storm surges; providing flood warning and monitoring tsunamis; tide tables for port operations, fishermen, and recreation; and research into sea level change and ocean circulation. The core stations (~300) of GLOSS are shown below with their active status.
How to stop rising sea levels
Because of the failure of politicians and government leaders to significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, certain amounts of sea-level rise are now guaranteed. They are ‘baked into’ the system. However, stronger action on climate change now can mitigate exactly how far our oceans will rise into the future.
The lack of action on climate change has seen the emergence of activist groups around the world. Increasing numbers of people are determined to protest climate change inaction. We must ‘rise up’ if our coastal cities are to survive rising sea levels.
Sea Level Rise Map
The Climate Council in Australia has also developed an interactive tool that will show how your suburb will be impacted by sea-level rise over coming years.
Sea level rise adaptation strategies
As a result of decades of inaction by corrupt politicians, coastal cities now have to make plans to survive rising sea-levels. These rises are now ‘baked in’ or ‘locked in’ as a result of the failure to cut fossil fuel emissions. Indeed, many coastal cities have prepared ‘retreat or defend’ policies to plan how to handle coming increases in the levels of our oceans.
Some countries, such as Indonesia are even moving entire cities to cope with the impacts of climate change. Indonesia is relocating its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.
The island nation of Kiribati is becoming submerged and the government of that nation has purchased land in Fiji to resettle the nations population.
Adaptation of the population centres is underway. This includes engineering solutions such as raising houses and roads, installing tidal gates to restrict ingress of tidal water into stormwater systems, building levees and sea walls.