It was reported earlier this week that climate change scientists have announced that global carbon emissions are rising after showing signs of leveling out over the past three years. As reported by CBS News, global emissions have risen by two percent in 2017, a trend that has climate change scientists worried. The Global Carbon Project team announced that emissions this year will be almost 41 billion tons, up from 9.2 billion tons at the end of the 1950’s.
Scientists believe that carbon emissions are the primary cause of climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists warns that global warming is already melting the polar ice caps at an alarming rate. This is causing a rise in sea levels, something that puts hundreds of communities in the United States, and many thousands more around the world at risk of being washed away.
“Global warming is already having significant and harmful effects on our communities, our health, and our climate. Sea level rise is accelerating.
“The number of large wildfires is growing. Dangerous heat waves are becoming more common. Extreme storm events are increasing in many areas. More severe droughts are occurring in others.”
As sea levels rise as a result of global warming, NASA scientists have developed a tool to predict which U.S cities are most at risk from rising sea levels. As reported by the BBC, New York is put at risk by melting ice across the entire northern and eastern portions of the Arctic ice sheet.
As reported by National Geographic, over 90 U.S. communities are already being severely affected by rising sea levels. That number is set to double over the next 20 years. By the end of the century, scientists predict that four of New York’s five boroughs could be underwater. Major cities like Miami, Oakland, and St Petersburg are among the 670 communities at risk of being reclaimed by the sea as a result of coastal flooding.
Communities from Maine to Texas and along parts of the West Coast could find themselves underwater by the end of this century. If coastal flooding is as bad as scientists predict, the U.S. may face an internal refugee crisis. Scientists predict that sea levels could rise by up to four feet by the end of this century. However, as explained by NASA scientist Dr. Erik Ivins, the rise in sea levels will not be distributed evenly across the oceans. The Earth’s spin and gravitational effects determine how water will be “redistributed” globally.
It is the ability to predict the sea level rise in specific areas that scientists hope will allow city planners and national government to plan and prepare mitigation techniques to deal with coastal inundation.
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]