1. The Big Picture/The Problem

Rising Ocean Levels

Ocean levels are beginning to rise more and more.
Most scientists agree that global warming is the greatest threat. Mount Kilimanjaro's ice cap is melting, and coral reefs are being lost as oceans become warmer. These are clearly the effects of global warming. Scientists fear that global warming is going to cause sea levels to rise a great deal. Thermal expansion has already risen the oceans 5-8 inches. But copared to, for example, Greenlands huge ice sheet melting that small rise is nothing.


Sea Level
Sea Level


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Recent_Sea_Level_Rise.png
This shows the sea level rises from 1880 to 2000. Sea level has been steadily rising throughout the years.

2. Location

This problem is occuring everywhere around the world. Slowly but surely all of the oceans are rising up and (as shown in the map above) will soon begin to engulf areas of land.
In the future this will be a great problem for everyone around the world. Whole cities may be drowned under the water. The United States is the second most in danger of this problem. The whole state of Florida will be under water along with half of the East Coast and southern Texas, down to North Eastern Mexico.
external image Global_Warming_map_100m.jpg

http://vrstudio.buffalo.edu/~depape/warming/100meter.html
This map shows what the world would be like if the worlds icey areas were to melt. White or blue areas show where water would be. It shows where land would be underwater if there was a 20 ft. rise in ocean level. Sea levels would rise so much that almost all of the Eastern U.S. would be submerged in water, and all of Florida would be drowned.

3. Impact

Probably the most noticable result of the rising of the seas and oceans will be land loss. For the U.S. most of the East Coast will be entirely engulfed, and Florida would be gone. Storms and Floods could also be an effect of this rise in sea levels. As the sea rises, the outer boundary of wetlands will erode, and new wetlands will form as previously dry areas are flooded by higher water levels. The amount of new wetlands could be much smaller than the amount of lost area in wetlands. The IPCC says that by 2080, sea level rise could make as much as 33 percent of the whole worlds wetlands into open water.

4. Solutions

New research shows that saving the trees could slow climate change. Each Year, nearly 33 million acres of forest around the world is cut down, according to the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations. Tropical felling contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon-- some 20 percent of all man-made green house has emissions-- to the atmosphere annually. If deforestation was cut in half, it would save around 500 million metric tons of carbon annually and contribute to 12 percent of the total reductions in Greenhouse Gas emmiosions required to avoid global warming.

5. Future Outlook

While today's balance between the icecaps and global sea level has been relatively steady since about 1000 B.C., it would be dumb to assume that this is the Earth's natural state and that it would always be this way. What could happen to climate naturally in the next few thousand years? If Earth continued to warm up and break away from ice age conditions, some of the remaining ice caps would melt. Or climate might swing into another ice age.(In fact, some of the environmentalists now worried about global warming were worried about another ice age in the 1960s and 1970s.)

external image usanoice.jpg
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/waterworld.html
Above is a view of the lower 48 states of the United States with a 66-meter-higher sea level.

References

Climate.org, CL.O. (n.d.). Oceans & sea level rise. Retrieved from http://www.climate.org/topics/sea-level/index.html

EPA, EPA. (n.d.). Coastal zones and sea level rise. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/coastal/index.html

Johnston, RJ. (2005, December 29). "what if all the ice melts?" myths and realities . Retrieved from http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/waterworld.html

Wikipedia, Wiki. (n.d.). Current sea level rise. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise