Sea levels are going to rise by at least 20ft. We can do something about it
Harold R Wanless
To avoid the grimmest outlook posed by warming oceans, we need to extract heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere
The US Army Corps of Engineers distributes sand along the beach in Miami Beach, Florida. The project is part of a $16m scheme to widen the beaches in an effort to fight erosion and protect properties from storm surges.
Tue 13 Apr 2021 11.00 BST
The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize. Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated the Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather – that much is widely understood.
The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.
As oceans heat up the water rises in part because warm water expands but also because the warmer waters have initiated major melt of polar ice sheets. As a result, average sea levels around the world are now all but certain to rise by at least 20 to 30 feet. That’s enough to put large parts of many coastal cities, home to hundreds of millions of people, under water.