Jul 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:51 AM EDT

Sea Levels Aren't Just Rising, They are Accelerating

Jun 28, 2017 07:42 PM EDT

Sea level rise threatens Indonesian coastal towns
(Photo : Getty Images)

If climatologists could give you some real estate advice, it would be to sell your beach house. Pretty soon it will be in the middle of the surf, which really dings the resale value.

If you are a climate change denier, here is some irrefutable evidence that sea levels are rising. In 2014, sea levels rose 3.3 millimeters. That is an acceleration of sea level rising compared to 1993 when they rose 2.2 millimeters. You don't have to believe in the man-made contributions to global warming to see that this is going to be a problem. You only have to be able to read in centimeters. The oceans are rising. The rate at which they rise is accelerating quickly. 

The research is pretty straightforward. The study looked at satellite measurements and tidal gauges around the world to come to its conclusions.  No phony science here, no confusing data or assumptions about carbon needed. Read the tidal gauge. It's hard to deny.

A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that the rate of sea level rise jumped 50% between 1993 and 2014. The news was even scarier for residents of the East Coast United States with coastal areas of Virginia and North Carolina seeing sea levels rise almost three times quicker than the worldwide average.

North Carolina lawmakers are almost literally turning a blind eye. In 2012, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill banning researchers from reporting predicted increases in the rate of sea level rise. They literally banned the reporting of bad news associated with rising sea levels. They figure that if you don't hear about it, it must not exist. 

"This new evidence of accelerating rates is concerning to us as we try to advise local cities and regions on what they're going to have deal with," said Larry Atkinson, professor of oceanography. 

Good luck trying to "advise" lawmakers in North Carolina on what they are going to have to deal with. They are taking an "out of sight, out of existence" approach to rising sea levels.

The conclusion of the researchers is that a major contributor to the increase in sea level rise is the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Greenland holds the equivalent of more than 24 feet of sea level rise in its thick mantle of ice.  When that ice melts, much of it runs into the oceans. Some of the melt water trickles down below the ice sheet and deteriorates the ice sheet structure which contributes to more ice breaking off into the ocean. This ice melts and contributes further to global sea level rise. 

Another factor in the rising level of oceans is that warm water takes up more space than cold water. The oceans are heating up, and according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report,  "thermal expansion" is accounting for 30 to 55 percent of global sea level rise. The oceans are heating up due to a number of factors, and most scientists believe that the excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is being absorbed by the oceans and that this is making them rise in temperature. As the ocean temperature rises, so does the level of the ocean. 

Sea level rising will be a hard thing to argue against when your favorite beach town ends up three feet underwater. Of course, if you are in the North Carolina senate, you think that if you don't see the water piling up at your front door, then it does not exist. If you believe this, maybe you would be interested in buying my beach house. 

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