It is somewhat comforting to live inside a bubble of illusion. But what happens when the bubble bursts, and your preparedness levels fail you, because the real world happenings are simply more than what you estimated? Something similar just happened with the debate surrounding globally rising sea levels. It isn’t as bad as we were made to believe. Actually, it’s much worse.
NASA’s former climate scientist and globally recognized ‘alarmist’ James Hansen has burst the bubble open. The near-term stability of global sea levels is more than just questionable. Hansen, along with a team of 16 co-authors, has made public a new study which concludes that the glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are likely to melt 10 times faster than previous estimates. This may lead to a scary 10 feet rise in around 50 years.
This one is an exhaustive study which involves the participation of top minds in various fields relevant to climate change and global sea-level rise. It’s not Just Hansen but a squad of geniuses who’re trying to give us a heads up. The study takes into account observation of current rates of sea level rise, inputs from computer models, and even paleoclimate (study of climatic changes in Earth's history) records. The key aspect of the study surrounds the topic of cooler freshwater from melting glaciers in the ocean near Antarctica, pushing warmer and saltier water underneath the ice sheets, thereby speeding up the melting rate. To put things into perspective, most coastal cities on the planet will remain on the world map for a few more decades only.
Hansen’s study is a sign of desperation and genuine concern on part of researchers and scientists who are able to get snippets of a future not so bright. In the year 2013, Hansen left NASA only because he wanted to swim against the current. Hansen and his team have pushed forward some alarming facts about near-term sea level stability. The study needs to be reviewed, and its findings need to be corroborated in a traditional manner, which can then be converted to PowerPoint presentations for world leaders to view in a fancy climate change gathering. But till then, global emissions may have already sunk the ship.
(Featured Image Credit: climate.gov)