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Earth Science

Sea Level Rise Can't Be Stopped 521

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-invest-in-boat-companies dept.
riverat1 writes "Sea level rise won't stop for several hundred years even if we reverse global warming, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. As warmer water is mixed down into the oceans, it causes thermal expansion of the water. Under the best emissions scenario, the expected rise is 14.2 cm by 2100; under the worst, 32.2 cm from thermal expansion alone. Any water pumped from aquifers or glacial/ice sheet melt is added to that."
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Sea Level Rise Can't Be Stopped

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:25PM (#40533233) Homepage

    Serves you right. You let all those New Yorkers in and bad things happen....

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Serves you right. You let all those New Yorkers in and bad things happen....

      Hope all those gators can adapt to a life at sea...

      • Re:Bye Florida! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:56PM (#40534519) Journal
        They won't have any problem, same as the armadillos that USED to live in TX went through AR and are halfway through OK now. As a certain line from a movie went "life finds a way" and while we here in North Central AR may be roasting under 104F temps the armadillos just packed up and moved north. At the current rate I expect Canucks to be dodging armadillos in about a decade.
    • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @06:04PM (#40535361)
      meh.. I live in Florida. About a mile from the Gulf of Mexico. 588cm above sea level. The expensive beach house owners might have to worry but much of FL will be just fine. Who knows, maybe someday my house will become a beach house!
    • by maitai (46370)

      Since we built NY, I'm pretty sure we can also build a 1 foot tall sea wall.

  • by Jeff1946 (944062) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:27PM (#40533271) Journal

    It will be ok in North Carolina since their legislature said you can only use linear extrapolations of sea level rise to plan building in coastal areas. Guess they didn't get beyond simple algebra in school (no quadratic equations etc).

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:27PM (#40533275)

    Should have known better than to try to save that ungrateful environment. I'm buying an SUV.

    Suck my balls, you lying hippies!

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:28PM (#40533299)

    Time to unload all that beachfront property. 32cm is like, over 12 inches. That's gonna be noticeable.

    • Re:Sell! (Score:5, Funny)

      by KhabaLox (1906148) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:40PM (#40533463)

      32cm is like, over 12 inches. That's gonna be noticeable.

      Somewhere in there is a "Your Mom" joke, straining against the seams to get out.

    • Or time to market marked up property as "soon to be" beachfront. Or time to invest in some myself, something for the great great grandkids to enjoy when they unplug from their neural-net-by-facebook world and want to be wheeled down to the sea by their robot butlers for their evening repast.
  • Overall rise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zrbyte (1666979) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:28PM (#40533303)

    Any water pumped from aquifers or glacial/ice sheet melt is added to that.

    How big is the effect of thermal expansion in comparison to melting of ice? How much would be the additional rise in the worst case scenario?

    • How big is the effect of increased evaporation due to higher water surface temperatures?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the entirety of the Greenland ice sheet melted, over twenty feet of rise. There's a heckuva lot of ice sitting up on top of Greenland.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet

    • Current estimates place global sea level rise of 10ft if the West Antarctic ice sheet were to completely disintegrate
  • Does anyone have a map of affected low-lying areas? Can we get any visual depictions of the chaos to come?

    People don't respond well to small numbers. Most can't understand the impact of them. Shouting, "The ocean will rise by 14cm!" only begs for the response of "Well that's only ankle deep..."

    Can't we take what we've learned from marketing sodas to the masses and apply it to important doomsday scenarios like this? Where are all of the Don Drapers of the scientific world anyway?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:33PM (#40533373)

      Yes, this: http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/

      But that map makes even a 60m rise seem not bad at all.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:36PM (#40533403)

        I know, I never liked Florida either.

      • And this prediction is for a 1 inch rise a decade.
        The panic, I'm missing it.
      • But that map makes even a 60m rise seem not bad at all.

        Seriously? 60m puts the states of Florida and Delaware underwater, half of Maryland and New Jersey, and major cities including Houston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Washinton DC, Boston, Philadelphia, and oh yeah New York City. That's well over 50 million people left homeless on the Eastern seaboard alone.

        Internationally, also say goodbye to Shanghai, Tokyo, Nanjing, Pyongyang, Nanjing, Cambodia, Bangkok, Bangladesh, Denmark, The Netherlands, London, Sydney, Melbourne.... notice the trend where highly populat

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Where are all of the Don Drapers of the scientific world anyway?

      Can't happen. Good scientists are honest.

  • Astonishing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I really thought our cunning plan of exporting [institutef...search.org] our coal consumption to Asia was going to work. I mean, nothing that happens over there is in the Environment, right?

  • Yes we knew this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:31PM (#40533353)

    This paper is just further evidence that we've already released enough CO2 to continue the warming trend. Even if all humans disappeared, like one of those History Channel Life After People episodes, the globe would continue to warm towards a non-ice age state.
     

  • Hell yes! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That coastal property I bought in Arkansas for 48 BTC is going up uP UP!!! My investments own.

  • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:34PM (#40533383)
    This may be a stupid question, but isn't there a way to collect massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, compress the carbon into some sort of solid composite, and store it somewhere where it's land-locked (similar to how trees store carbon in wood)?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ethergear (1130483)
      Beyond growing wood or some other plant matter, not really.
      • by rickb928 (945187)

        We've been reforesting the U.S. for at least the past 15 years, and probably longer, but of course it is not enough.

      • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:40PM (#40534281)

        I have actually thought about this.

        Take something like kudzu. Evil vine that ate the south. It grows over a foot PER DAY.

        Ok, plant it on an enclosed, circular growing area, with a slow moving, automated cutting system that continually dead-heads the vines, and keeps them inside. The cut off cruft is put into a hermitically sealed solar sintering system with sand, and heated to vitrefaction.

        Carbon rich black glass is produced. The stuff would be more geologically stable than coal.

        Slow, but could be nearly completely automated. Done on a large scale, you could remove tons of carbon from the atmosphere daily in rainy tropical areas.

    • creates even more CO2 with our current energy generation
    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      This may be a stupid question, but isn't there a way to collect massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, compress the carbon into some sort of solid composite, and store it somewhere where it's land-locked (similar to how trees store carbon in wood)?

      Wouldn't it be much easier just to grow a crapload of fast-growing trees (since as you noted, they already do this very thing) and then bury or sink whatever wood isn't needed for housing and furniture?

    • This may be a stupid question, but isn't there a way to collect massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, compress the carbon into some sort of solid composite, and store it somewhere where it's land-locked (similar to how trees store carbon in wood)?

      Yeah. It's called an ocean. But it runs on its own timetable. Geological time, to be exact.

    • by nomadic (141991)
      There are several different proposed methods. Fast-growing trees and crops (that are then turned into biochar and buried), enhanced weathering by grinding and spreading silicate materials such as olivine, ocean iron fertilization to increase phytoplankton blooms and increase carbon transport to the deep ocean (where it will stay for a couple thousand years). Unfortunately they are all expensive and it is uncertain how effective any of them are.
    • by slew (2918) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:23PM (#40534077)

      Removing the CO2 is damn near impractical. However, even if we did it, it wouldn't be enough.

      Any warming (should it exist) eventually is likely to cause two other effects...
      1. an increase in the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere (which is currently responsible for about 50% of the greenhouse effect compared to 20% for CO2).
      2. an increase in methane clathrate [wikipedia.org] melting in the permafrost and ocean releasing large quantities of methane into our atmosphere. Methane is ~70x a potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 (but currently only accounts for about 7% of greenhouse effect)

      Many speculate that if warming actually happens, these two effects could effectively cause run-away global warming. That's why people are thinking about how to block the heating from the sun (e.g., spraying particles in the air), not just sequestering carbon or just living with the consequences of warming. It's probably too late to just think about CO2. That ship has probably sailed...

  • What do Professor Vanessa and Dr. Dewey have to say about this?

  • Good news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mevets (322601) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @03:54PM (#40533667)

    Now that there is nothing we can do about it, the shills can stop pretending it isnâ(TM)t happening.
    Already, Exxon has stated the obvious - burning fossil fuels is warming the planet by increasing the co2 level; however had to mute it with a statement that we can handle the change.
    I suppose a whiff of honesty is better than before.

  • by feepness (543479) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:06PM (#40533821) Homepage
    That global warming is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until your tootsies are completely soaked.
  • Not the worse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @04:06PM (#40533829) Homepage Journal
    When I think of climate change, increased sea levels are not the worse that I think about. Increased sea levels are simply about real estate and lost infrastructure. To be sure, I plan to be around awhile and these increases in sea level are going to directly effect me in terms of flooding and real estate value, but that does not have anything to with long term livelihood and food production. If anything, it might provide more territory for certain sea creatures to grow. Of course a sea levels rise, some fresh water is going to become brakish which could be a long term concern for certain population. Not to mention a few populated low lying islands that will disappear.

    But when I think of climate change, I think of longer periods of temperatures that are outside what a human can really aclimate to, and food can really be produced in. For instance, daytime temperatures that approach or go over 100F during the day and don't get under 80F at night. In Europe we are seeing another winter with temperatures staying at freezing for a continuous period. This is a concern because if we can't produce food, we can't survive. Look at the desertification of Africa. Look at the fight over water going on now in Texas and California. There are going to be some things that are just going to involving restructuring, insurance, and large writeoffs. This will be over and forgotten each generation, like the recurring banking crisis that hits us every 20-30 years. The other, like weather and temperature changes, are not going to be so easily fixed.

  • Particularly in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. Sounds like a good thing to me.

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