The sea levels are rising rapidly, and that’s kind of a problem.
As we consciously emit greenhouse gases, our planet is heating up at an unsettling pace, and with it, the seas that make up so much of earth. Devastating climate change has resulted in vast increases in ocean levels; it’s been measured that a swelling of nearly 8 inches has occurred in the past 40 or so years.
Sea levels are rising due to three major things: the melting of glaciers, thermal expansion, and the reduction of Greenland and Antarctica's ice sheets. Recent high temperatures have caused unnaturally large amounts of melting snow in mountain areas during the summer-- water expands as it heats up— and the aforementioned massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are melting and moving into the ocean at a faster rate. All of these factors combined have led to a significant increase in sea levels.
And now, to the awfully terrifying part that makes most of us panic: the consequences. The most obvious potential issue would be flooding of coastal cities. Heated water increases the chance of the formation of hurricanes and typhoons, posing a fearsome threat on cities closer to the ocean. Not only that, but the slightest increase in sea levels can entirely devastate a habitat, from destructive and unnecessary erosion to contamination of agricultural soil with salt. Higher sea levels also threaten basic global Internet access since much of the fiberglass infrastructure lies in the path of the rising sea.
The question is, is this enough? Are sea walls, and raised roads, and water-absorbent vegetation enough to battle climate change? While affected cities work to prevent from completely sinking, the rest of the world is still using fossil fuels and releasing impossibly large amounts of carbon dioxide. The polar ice caps are expected to melt entirely and sea levels are projected to rise high enough to engulf entire port cities. It seems as though the world is in shambles.
It’s up to us to spread the word, to educate those who are unaware of the effects of greenhouse gases. Though temporary changes will have little long-term effect on the issue as a whole, making changes in your lifestyle and promoting earth-friendly behavior will, ultimately, benefit our forgiving planet. Little by little. One by one.