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The Risks of Rising Sea Level by City Tech Blogger Yun Jiang

Climate change has led to an accelerated rise of sea levels. Sea level rise is the most potentially discussed and important issue related to climate change.  It is considered one of the global issues that threatens different parts of the world.  It could damage the climate of different habits and harms local communities. It is also considered a huge threat to the living environment of mankind. Sea level rise is a slow and continuous process and there is still time to fight against. Moreover, its long-term effects will post a serious threat to coastal areas as well as causing irreversible consequences.

Sea level rise is one of most important consequences of climate change. After the industrial revolution, fossil fuels were used in large quantities in the industry, which led to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other trace gases such as methane, which produced a greenhouse effect. This caused the rise of temperature on the surface of the earth and the expansion of seawater, thus accelerating the melting rate of glaciers such as the Antarctic continent and Greenland, leading to an increase in the sea level. The rising temperature also brings a lot of problems. One of the problems is the seawater expansion due to heat. For example, if the water layer is 100 meters deep, the water temperature will increases by 1°C and when the temperature is 25 °C, then the water layer will expand about 0.5 cm. The thermal expansion of seawater is the most important factor leading to sea level rise. But the reasons for the rise in sea level and temperature are many. There is a difference between sea surface temperature and deep-sea temperature. Even if the global temperature is stable, the heat on the surface of the sea will continue to pass to the deep sea. The temperature in the deep sea will rise slowly, causing more seawater to undergo thermal expansion reaction, and then the overall volume of seawater will expand, causing sea levels to increase. Moreover, this reaction will continue for a long period of time. Only when the seawater is completely in equilibrium with the atmospheric temperature will it stop, which is estimated to be 300 years.


Sea level rise also causes soil erosion. The surface of the earth is composed of land and sea. Land water is mainly in the form of fresh water such as icebergs, lakes and rivers. Rivers are connected to the oceans, and icebergs and lakes flow into the ocean through rivers. Due to the geological surface of the earth’s crust, the loose soil flows into the ocean through rivers. There are a lot of loose soil flows into ocean every year, flows that are increasing dramatically. The principles of land reclamation and soil erosion are the same. Due to the activity of human beings, some of the oceans are enclosed or buried by sand on the land. Then, this part of the sea can only flow into other parts of the ocean. The result of these soil erosions and land reclamation on Earth will certainly cause sea level rise. Sea level rises and accelerates the melting of glaciers such as Antarctica and Greenland and these melting glaciers will lead to an increase in sea level. It will become a cycle that will never stops.

Another main cause of sea level rise is the impact of forest cover on the Earth’s surface and the temperature of the Earth’s surface. As we know, a forest is more like a reservoir. The forest has three main functions: one is to purify the air; the other is to save water; the third is to absorb the soil surface and reduce soil erosion. All fo these have a very large effect on regulating the temperature of the earth and the flat rise of the sea level. The water on land is mainly fresh water, which exists in the form of lakes, glaciers or rivers. Every moment, a large amount of fresh water flows into the sea through various forms such as rivers. The ocean also evaporates and turns seawater into water vapor.  Under air currents or monsoons, these water vapors fall on land in the form of rain or snow. On the other hand, these precipitations flow into the ocean through the river, so long-term circulation. Due to the water storage function of the forest, part of the precipitation will be saved. The volume of water that evaporates from the ocean and drifts to land and flows into the ocean from land is roughly balanced. However, due to human activities of industrial development and accelerated urbanization in rural areas, the damage to the forest on the earth is extremely serious; the water storage function of the forest on the land is declining, and this balance is quickly broken. The volume of water flowing from the land into the ocean is greater than the amount of water evaporated by the ocean. Under such circumstances, the amount of water on the land is decreasing, and on the contrary, the amount of water in the ocean is increasing. The result is an increase in sea level accompanied by other adverse reactions. Further, due to the reduction of the water storage function of the forest, and the weakening of the absorption capacity of the land forest on the soil surface, sometimes-excessive precipitation causes a large amount of soil erosion to be formed and this speeds up the rise in sea level.

Perhaps in the future, we will lose the land on which we depend. How will we be doing at that time?



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