NASA Science Zeros in on Ocean Rise: How Much? How Soon?

Sep 2, 2015

NASA

By Steve Cole

Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners. An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

Members of NASA’s new interdisciplinary Sea Level Change Team will discuss recent findings and new agency research efforts during a media teleconference today at 12:30 p.m. EDT. NASA will stream the teleconference live online.

The question scientists are grappling with is how quickly will seas rise?

“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of the Sea Level Change Team. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

Team scientists will discuss a new visualization based on 23 years of sea level data – the entire record of available satellite data — which reveals changes are anything but uniform around the globe. The record is based on data from three consecutive satellite missions, the first a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales, launched in 1992. The next in the series is Jason-3, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with participation by NASA, CNES and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).


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17 comments on “NASA Science Zeros in on Ocean Rise: How Much? How Soon?

  • @OP – “Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder,

    Chuck in more energetic storms and temporary raised levels from spring tides and enhanced sea surges, a lot of low coastal areas and ports are going to take serious damage in the not too distant future.

    Still – While Obama is now at last encouraging more constructive reductions in CO2 emissions, “Brain-of-Britain Cameron”, is cutting back on on-shore wind, and solar electricity developments, while promoting gas-fracking and oil-drilling!



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  • Think back to defrosting your 1970s fridge. Nothing much happens for hours, then the ice start falling off in great chunks. I suspect earth will behave similarly. Consider albedo, the lubricating effect of water



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  • The videos in the original article are particularly instructive. In the first video, late in, they focus on the flow of the Atlantic currents, which shows that it is shifting. This is particularly disturbing, because this has been predicted as one potential global warming tipping point for the earth’s climate. In the past, when this current changed, it was a catastrophe for Europe.

    We really are sailing through space with a ship of fools.



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  • Just out of interest I calculated how much sea level rise the 421 gigatons of ice stated to be melting from Greenland and Antarctica each year represent. It’s about 1mm spread across the entire area of ocean. So 1 metre in a thousand years.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich
    Sep 3, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Just out of interest I calculated how much sea level rise the 421 gigatons of ice stated to be melting from Greenland and Antarctica each year represent. It’s about 1mm spread across the entire area of ocean. So 1 metre in a thousand years.

    NASA covers more ice fields, and has larger predictions.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150827-NASA-climate-oceans-seas-greenland/

    Year by year, millimeter by millimeter, the seas are rising. Fed by melting glaciers and ice sheets, and swollen by thermal expansion of water as the planet warms, the world’s oceans now on average are about eight inches higher than a century ago. And this sea change is only getting started.

    Since 1992, sea levels have increased by an average of 3 inches around the world. Three years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that by 2100 sea levels could rise 28 to 98 centimeters (11 to 38 inches), depending on the volumes of greenhouse gases emitted.

    Even if greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized and global warming is limited to no more than 2° C, the oceans could reach levels that would transform the world’s coasts in the centuries ahead, NASA scientists say.

    “With future warming, we may lock ourselves into multiple-meter sea level rise” over the coming centuries, says Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “We’re talking about 6 meters—18 feet—and higher of sea level rise. Sea level rise might rise half a meter per century, or several meters per century. We just don’t know.”

    The IPCC didn’t include melting land ice in its sea level projections, and the NASA scientists said Wednesday that the question of how much and how fast the ice will melt is the biggest unknown.



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  • Here are maps which show what would happen if ALL the ice melted.

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map

    The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas.

    There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58.



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  • As ice sheets melt releasing the weight bearing down on the Earth’s crust, the land under them will rise, displacing water to elsewhere on the planet.

    Trillions of dollars of assets are at risk!

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/uneven-impacts-map

    If sea level rises an average of around three feet by 2100, winds, currents, and melting ice sheets will distribute the rise unevenly. Certain coastal cities will be especially vulnerable.



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  • While carbon industry denial campaigns, keep gullible members of the pubic and stooge politicians, misinformed, those who look at data are facing stark realities, although some nations who are prime culprits, are still trying to duck the issues and implications.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34147192

    Poorer countries want compensation for extreme weather events that they link to large scale carbon emissions.

    But the US and EU have long resisted this idea, fearing an endless liability running into billions of dollars.

    However a clarified proposal from the US, to be made on Friday, is being seen as a “step forward” by some delegates.

    Loss and damage has increasingly become a totemic issue for developing nations, who point to events like Typhoon Haiyan as an example of the tremendous damage that extreme weather events can wreak on the most vulnerable.

    They argue that the world is seeing a greater frequency of these events and they are caused, in the main, by emissions of carbon dioxide that are mainly the responsibility of the rich.

    The issue has gained considerable traction at these talks in recent years.

    The question almost derailed the UN process in Poland in 2013. The parties eventually agreed to set up the so-called Warsaw Mechanism, which was given two years to develop a plan of how the issue should be tackled.

    They point to reports from insurers which say that losses linked to weather events have risen from around $50bn a year in the 1980s to around $200bn now.

    It rapid action is not taken very soon, the costs of losses, will escalate to irrecoverable levels.



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  • The longstanding publication ‘Old Farmer’s Almanac’ is having “growing pains”, so to speak. It’s an eclectic blend of forecasts, gardening advice, horoscope, all woven together home-style.

    Seems incorporating climate change is a challenge. “We’re not convinced, give us more hard data NOAA” – “what do you think, readers?”. Obviously OFA can’t rely on weather models of 100 years ago.



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  • bonnie
    Sep 6, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Seems incorporating climate change is a challenge. “

    To the feeble minded and their followers, climate is very much a challenge which goes straight over their heads!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34168737
    Sarah Palin has said she would like to serve as energy secretary in a Donald Trump administration – in order to abolish the department.

    The former governor of Alaska and conservative activist told CNN that “energy is my baby”.

    “Oil and gas and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind’s use,” she said.

    Mr Trump said in July he would be open to the possibility of Ms Palin serving in his government.

    Ms Palin said she wanted individual states to “start having more control over the lands that are within their boundaries” with respect to their energy policy.

    “If I were in charge of that, it would be a short-term job,” she said.



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  • Meanwhile, the political stooges of the oil lobby are still obstructing reductions in CO2 outputs!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34208050

    California has dropped plans to halve petroleum use in vehicles by 2030, after intense oil industry lobbying.

    Governor Jerry Brown and other senior lawmakers had included the proposal in a climate change bill, but were forced to retreat amid growing opposition.

    State senate leader Kevin de Leon, who supported the cut, accused oil firms of deploying “scare tactics”.

    The leaders have vowed to push ahead with other reforms, including boosting renewable electricity use.

    “I’d say oil has won the skirmish, but they’ve lost the bigger battle,” Mr Brown said.

    “I’m more determined than ever to make our regulatory regime work for the people of California – cleaning up the air, reducing the petroleum and creating green jobs.”

    The plans to require a 50% reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030 were met with fierce opposition from business groups and oil companies, who warned of negative consequences for California’s economy.

    Mr De Leon said the industry had a “singular motive” and accused it of creating a “multibillion-dollar smoke screen” to deter lawmakers from voting for the legislation.



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  • There are some who are so pig-ignorant, that they would think it funny if they were told 2 + 2 = 4, or that the depth of water can be measured!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-34217454

    Australia’s immigration minister Peter Dutton has come under fire for making light of rising sea levels affecting Pacific Island nations.

    Mr Dutton was caught on camera joking about “water lapping at your door” to Prime Minister Tony Abbott – who chuckled as well.

    The embarrassing faux pas came shortly after Australia refused to commit to further climate change pledges.

    *That decision attracted criticism from Pacific island leaders.8

    Bad joke’ – Mr Dutton had made the joke on Friday in Parliament House while waiting for a meeting, which was being covered by the media, to start.

    He was standing next to Mr Abbott, who had just returned from the Pacific Islands Forum in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby where leaders had been discussing climate change and rising sea levels.



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  • No body gives a Flying Spaghetti Monster about what’s going to happen gradually, contingently over a century based on abstruse elitist concerns about melting ice:

    “Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of the Sea Level Change Team. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

    All that most people will hear is the part that goes, “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.” From developed countries: “Definitely worrisome, but I’ve got to drive to work today, board an airplane for my vacation next week in Spain, shop for a new fridge, make dinner reservations, put my kids through college in a few years. From developing countries: That’s worrisome, but if it’s anything bad it’s all your fault. How do I feed my five kids today without doubling down on slashing and burning this frigging rain forest for lumber, growing crops and grazing cattle? Where’s that foreign aid you promised? How do I support the sixth little bastard my lady has in the oven? Excuse me but I got a lotta infidels to kill this afternoon with my Kalashnikov.

    All 7.2 billion together now…EVERY BODY SING!!: “Gimme, gimme, gimme.”

    Technology will probably begin to put a dent in annual global carbon emissions over the next 10 to 20 years, but not because the ordinary person reads articles like this and really cares in terms of conscientious priorities about melting ice and rising sea levels.



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  • Melvin
    Sep 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    No body gives a Flying Spaghetti Monster about what’s going to happen gradually, contingently over a century based on abstruse elitist concerns about melting ice:

    I think you will find that millions of people living on low-lying Pacific islands and coasts care a great deal, and have directed their criticism at Australia’s now dumped leader and his minions – as I pointed out in the comment to which you are replying!

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/11/pacific-leaders-australian-minister-sea-levels-tony-de-brum-marshall-islands
    .Marshall Islands foreign minister, Tony de Brum, who has been a high profile advocate for stronger action on climate change in the UN climate process, expressed his offence on Twitter:

    .Anote Tong, the president of Kiribati, described the joke as vulgar. “What kind of a person is he?” he asked the ABC. “As long as there is this kind of attitude, this kind of arrogance in any position of leadership, we will continue to have a lot of tension.”

    .Gary Juffa, the governer of the Papua New Guinea province of Oro, focused on the Australian prime minister’s reaction:



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  • Melvin
    Sep 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    How do I feed my five kids today without doubling down on slashing and burning this frigging rain forest for lumber, growing crops and grazing cattle? Where’s that foreign aid you promised?

    The answer to a substitute for firewood, is obvious, and being actively promoted by charities!

    There is a wide variety of solar cooker designs, many of them very simple to build from inexpensive, easy-to-obtain materials. Some can be built in as little as an hour for less than US$5. Start by choosing a cooker design type based on your requirements. http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Solar_cooker_plans

    A solar cooker is a device which uses the energy of direct sunlight to heat, cook or pasteurize food or drink. Many solar cookers presently in use are relatively inexpensive, low-tech devices, although some are as powerful or as expensive as traditional stoves,[1] and advanced, large-scale solar cookers can cook for hundreds of people.[2] Because they use no fuel and cost nothing to operate, many nonprofit organizations are promoting their use worldwide in order to help reduce fuel costs (especially where monetary reciprocity is low) and air pollution, and to slow down the deforestation and desertification caused by gathering firewood for cooking. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cooker



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  • Melvin
    Sep 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Technology will probably begin to put a dent in annual global carbon emissions over the next 10 to 20 years, but not because the ordinary person reads articles like this and really cares in terms of conscientious priorities about melting ice and rising sea levels.

    The thing about sitting in denial of warnings about the laws of nature, is that the laws of nature make the “don’t cares” care – the hard way!
    Nature does not go away because objective warnings are ignored!



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