NASA: Sea Level Rise Is Going To Get Much Worse

Flooded Streets

Flooded Streets

New York City streets after Hurricane Sandy hit the city in 2012. Flooding like this could become more common in the future as sea levels rise.

Eleven of the fifteen largest cities in the world are located on the coast. The tenuous barrier between land and sea was a boon for humanity in the past, providing access to ports around the globe, building lifelines of trade between countries, and raising triumphs of steel and concrete high into the air. Now, sea levels are also on the rise, putting millions of people who live in those cities in harm’s way.

NASA released new estimates this week, finding that sea levels will probably rise about three feet sometime in the not-too-distant future, driven by melting glaciers and warming water.

“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” Steve Nerem, leader of the Sea Level Change Team said in a press release. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

To put that into perspective, NASA estimates that since 1992, sea levels have risen by about 3 inches.

Adding to the uncertainty over time, the Earth is not a perfect sphere, and variations around the globe mean that sea level change isn’t evenly distributed around the globe. In some places, sea level rise far exceeded the 3 inch average, going up by nearly 9 inches.

To help people really picture how sea level change could vary around the world, NASA put together this short video showing how, even though there are a few areas where sea level is actually dropping, over the vast majority of the world, sea level is going up.

Sea level rise will be felt most harshly along the coasts, where large population centers are already having to prepare for more flooding every time a storm rolls in. Already, flooding in coastal cities costs $6 billion every year. By 2050, that number is expected to reach $1 trillion.

NASA scientists will continue to keep track of sea level rise using numerous satellites, boats, underwater drones, submarines, and a program aptly titled OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland).

In the meantime, low-lying areas from Florida to Boston are pondering infrastructure solutions, and New Orleans, recognizing the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this week, just released a plan to make the city resilient in the face of future storms.


NASA: Sea Level Rise Is Going To Get Much Worse

Three Category 4 hurricanes have just hit the Pacific Ocean at the same time

For the first time in recorded history, three Category 4 hurricanes have appeared in the Pacific Ocean at the same time, and they’re inching ever-closer to the Big Island of Hawaii. The never-before-seen meteorological event involves the hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena, the latter of which has sustained winds of up to 225 km/h.

According to the US Weather Channel, we haven’t seen anything close to this event before – three simultaneous Category 3 hurricanes have yet to be recorded. While the most immediate threat is to the coast of Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan are also currently on watch.

Right now, Ignacio poses the biggest threat to Hawaii; at midnight last Sunday, it was about 450 km to the southeast of the Big Island and is expected to travel north of the Hawaiian islands on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The hurricane, which has contained winds of up to 217 km/h, is unlikely to actually hit the coast, but experts are saying residents should expect heavy rain and winds of up to 63km/h as early as tonight, and a 6-metre swell and rip currents in the water before the storm settles back down later in the week. Needless to say – don’t go in the water.

After Ignacio sweeps past the north of Hawaii, it’s not yet clear in which direction it will head next.

Hurricane Jimena, on the other hand, is expected to sustain its ‘major hurricane’ status till at least the midweek, but so far, it poses no threat to any island just yet. But that’s only because forecasters aren’t really sure where its path will take it at this stage.

Kilo is the least threatening of the three, safely churning up the open waters of the Pacific with its 220 km/h winds.

The event has been linked to a stronger than usual El Niño event, which researchers are saying we should start to get used to, as many more are expected in the future.

“The appearance of the chain of hurricanes may be linked to the strengthening El Niño weather pattern being observed in the Pacific,” reports. “The Australian Bureau of Meterology says the eastern half of the northern Pacific was now more than one degree warmer than the averages – with patches more than 2 degrees higher.”

Hopefully no one wil be hurt in the upcoming tropical storms, but one thing’s for sure, the event did provide an incredible photo opportunity:


Source: Three Category 4 hurricanes have just hit the Pacific Ocean at the same time

Three Category 4 hurricanes have just hit the Pacific Ocean at the same time