Sea Level Rise and Extreme Weather


Sea levels have been rising for over the 6000 years since the last ice age.   Current worldwide sea level rise estimates are 1.8 mm/year, with local sea level rise varying according to  factors such as local glacial isostatic adjustments and other land movements. Warming of the atmosphere and the oceans creates drivers for increasing the rate of sea level rise.  Melting of glaciers and ice sheets leads to a eustatic rise of sea level, while the warming of the ocean water results in its expansion, leading to sea level rise.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a worldwide collection of climate scientists, in 2007 has provided a range of sea level predictions for the next 100 years that exceed the current trend. Atmospheric and ocean warming is presumed to lead to increases in storminess and larger wave heights.  Increased storms (magnitude and frequency), with associated larger waves and water levels, would result in larger coastal disasters, exacerbated by increasing coastal populations. Data gaps include behavior of large ice sheets and climate effects on meteorology.


In an attempt to provide more accessible information to the community and develop ideas, we encourage you to discuss sea level rise and extreme weather events here.


(left) National Geographic, Maria Stenzel; (right) Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images