Climate Change & Sea level rise

Photo by Ben Mack on

We all know that there are far-reaching consequences due to climate change. And sea level rise is one among them. Recently in a news update the central govt. in India has released a recent report from Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC-AR6 WG1) that has noted that the global mean sea level has been rising at an unprecedentedly rapid pace in recent decades. The report highlighted that the average sea level rise increased from 1.3 mm/year between 1901-1971 to 3.7 mm/year between 2006-2018.

Remote sensing and GIS mapping techniques are used to measure the levels of sea rise. And India which has about 6500 km of coastline has a lot to worry about this.There is also a fear that many coastal regions including mega cities like Mumbai will get submerged. Now this has been known for months altogether but we still do not know the measures that has been undertaken to avert this problem.

Now we have to understand here that sea level rise happens due to two major reasons. First, as the oceans warm due to an increasing global temperature, seawater expands—taking up more space in the ocean basin and causing a rise in water level. The second mechanism is the melting of ice over land, which then adds water to the ocean. Now just as earth’s surface is not flat , the surface of the ocean floor is not flat or even. So , these also contribute to variational degree of sea level rise and may not always be easy to predict . Many other factors like  subsidence, upstream flood control, erosion, regional ocean currents, variations in land height etc are also responsible for the rise in sea level.

Measurements of sea level is basically done by two methods. one is by using tide stations and satellite laser altimeters. Tide stations basically measure the height of the water as measured along the coast relative to a specific point on land and tell us what is happening at a local level.Satellite measurements provide us with the average height of the entire ocean. Taken together, these tools tell us how our ocean sea levels are changing over time.

This issue is of grave concern as this phenomenon of rise in sea levels adversely affects human activities in coastal areas. Rising sea level inundates low-lying wetlands and dry land, erodes shorelines, contributes to coastal flooding, and increases the flow of salt water into estuaries and nearby groundwater aquifers. Higher sea level also makes coastal infrastructure more vulnerable to damage from storms.Changes in ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream can also affect sea levels by pushing more water against some coastlines and pulling it away from others, raising or lowering sea levels accordingly.

The need of the hour is to understand that we are aggresively moving towards our own doom and destroying our own home, our planet through our own hands. Just by passing on the responsibility to the local & central government to do the requried damage control is like asking an ant to climb a montain on its own! Policies that are inclusive of common people need to be designed. Of course it is a long journey but unless each one of us do our bit to reduce our own individual carbon foot print on this world, nothing is going to happen. So, let us all pledge that we all do our tiny bits in controlling the pollution that we do our nature and if need be become active members in community level activities to create awareness and bring about a positive change in this aspect.

What are your thoughts on this topic. Do let me know in the comment section.



“This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.”

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