Melting glaciers are adding so much extra water to the world’s oceans that it is causing the ocean floor to sink, a new study has claimed. In fact, the effects of this sinking are so significant that it might have caused other scientists to miscalculate the rate at which ocean levels are rising. The study also seems to indicate that the effects of rising ocean levels could be far worse than what was previously thought.
According to NewsWeek, the theory about the ocean floor sinking was revealed by a group of scientists in a research journal published last month on the Wiley Online Library. The scientists involved in the study include Thomas Frederikse and Riccardo E. M. Riva from the Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, and Matt A. King from Surveying and Spatial Sciences, School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Australia.
The study, which was published on December 23, 2017, claims that over the past 20 years, the ocean floor has sunk by an average of 0.004 inches per year. If the figures are correct, this means that the ocean floor is 0.08-inches deeper than it was 20 years ago. While these numbers might seem too small to cause any significant difference, what we need to keep in mind is that we are talking about a 0.004-inch difference each year for the past two decades over a large area of the planet. The world’s oceans, as you might be aware, account for more than 70 percent of earth’s surface area.
According to the scientists behind the study, they used a mathematical equation known as the elastic sea level equation to measure the current state of the ocean floor. This equation also helped them to compare the current ocean levels to the data they had from 1993 to 2014. The researchers also added that they are the first group of scientists to take into account the effects of melting glacier water on the ocean floor.
With fresh data at their disposal, the scientists are hopeful that other researchers would now be able to recalculate the effects of global warming and climate change and its effect on sea levels. Other scientists who did not take into account the sinking of the ocean floor could have underestimated the level of sea rise by more than 8 percent, the researchers claim. As per current estimates, ocean levels could rise by anywhere between 11 and 38-inches by the year 2100. This would result in most of the world’s current coastal cities and settlements to go underwater.