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article imageGlobal sea-levels continue to rise despite global carbon goals

By Tim Sandle     Nov 17, 2019 in Environment
Sea levels are set to continue to rise globally after the carbon emissions pledges set during the Paris climate agreement have been met and global temperatures flatten out. This means that the Paris agreement is too little, too late.
The global sea level rise relates to two factors, which are connected to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms (thermal expansion). As the situation stands, the sea level continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year.
The ecological impact is upon coastal ecosystems as well as the economies of coastal communities.
The 2016 Paris Climate Agreement aimed to address a number of issues arising from global warming, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance. The primary aim is to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, with the ideal target to limit temperature increases to below 1.5 °C. This is of course if every nation plays its part and agrees to abide by the agreement, something now less likely give that the U.S. has signaled its intention to withdraw (as Digital Journal has reported).
New research from Oregon State University quantifies how much the global sea level would increase from the carbon emissions pledged under the Paris agreement. Here it was determined that emissions released during the initial 15-year period of the agreement would still cause sea levels to rise by about 20 centimeters by the year 2300. In relation to these figures, they do not account for irreversible melting of parts of the Antarctic ice sheet which is already occurring.
The rise is linked the world’s major polluters, who the researchers identify as: U.S., China, India, Russia and the European Union.
According to lead researcher, Dr. Peter Clark the reason for the continuation of sea levels rises is because the impact on water is not as immediate as the impact upon the atmosphere. As he explains: “When we pump more carbon into the atmosphere, the increase in temperature is almost immediate. But sea level rise takes a lot longer to respond to that warming. If you take an ice cube out of the freezer and put it on the sidewalk, it takes some time to melt. The bigger the ice cube, the longer it takes to melt.”
The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with the study titled “Attributing long-term sea-level rise to Paris Agreement emission pledges.”
More about Sea levels, Carbon emissions, Climate change
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