Rising Sea Levels – Expansion



Making models of climate change is very difficult because there are many factors involved. When the Sun shines on the 70% of the Earth that is water , two factors will contribute to an accelerated rise in sea level. First, although the oceans have an enormous heat storage capacity, if global atmospheric temperatures rise, as they are, of course, doing, the oceans will absorb heat and expand, taking up more space. So,  average ocean density decreases and a greater volume of ocean water due to thermal expansion will lead to a rise in sea level. Second, rising temperatures will cause the ice and snowfields to melt, thereby increasing the amount of water in the oceans.

The world’s glaciers are both a clock and a thermometer.  These images are separated by only a few years and this Arctic1928_2000glacier2 snowfield has almost melted…

Only the melting of land-based ice and snow will increase sea level. The melting of floating ice doesn’t change sea level since the water is already present in the ocean body.


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