Sea level rise

Sea level rise is an inevitable consequence when the earth warms for two reasons:

  1. there is a net release of water into the oceans from melting glaciers and ice sheets, and
  2. the volume of water in the oceans increases as water warms because warmer water takes up more physical space.

In many coastal regions is easy to find evidence of rising sea levels in the past, the so-called raised beaches where the waves used to lap that are now well above today's tide line.

immediate sea level rise effects appear at high tides and during storm surges

Delve further back into cold periods and seas were much lower than they are today with land bridges appearing where now there are shallow seas.

10,000 years ago you could walk to Tasmania from Melbourne or across to Papua New Guinea from Cape York.

Rising seas and ever-changing coastlines are a feature of watery planet.

The challenge now is that sea level rise has consequences for humans. Many of us like to leave by the ocean.

Many more have to live near the sea because it supports their livelihood or is the only land left.

Read more Climate Change Wisdom on the evidence for sea level rise 

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