Sea Level Rising

Sea level is rising! Coastal areas are going to be inundated! Billions of eco-refugees are going to be knocking on your door!

Or maybe not. Here’s some perspective on sea level rise:

The recently-released IPCC Report (Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis Summary for Policymakers) does not portray catastrophic sea level increases. Their projection for 21st-century sea level rise is in the 0.18 to 0.59 meter range. This is primarily due to the thermal expansion of the oceans as they warm, and excludes any sea level rise due to substantial melting of polar ice caps. A 0.59 meter sea level rise could cause serious problems for coastal communities or low-elevation countries like the Maldives and the Netherlands, but this is not the catastrophic sea level rise that the more extreme elements of the environmental movement want us to fear.

Rising of sea level has been going on for many thousands of years, though at a slowing pace. In the past 18,000 years, sea level has increased a whopping 120 meters (that’s almost 400 feet). During periods of glacial maximum (i.e. “the ice ages”), a large quantity of water was stored on the continents in the form of ice caps. As this melted between 18,000 and 8,000 years ago, sea level rose dramatically. Whatever sea level increases occur due to global warming will be rather small in comparison.

Image from Wikipedia article on Sea Level Rise

Grace and Peace

Disclaimer: I am at present neither a global-warming skeptic nor a global-warming advocate. I’ll let you know when I figure it all out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s