Rising Sea Levels essay
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In the recent past, there has been a growing concern that the world is heading towards its ultimate destruction. Whereas this has elicited a massive debate, both proponents and opponents of the rise in sea levels as a result of global warming agree that global temperatures have increased marginally over the past two centuries. In particular, scientists have obtained quantifiable results that indicate that the there has been a 20 percent reduction in the ice packs located in the Arctic Ocean since the fall of 2007 due to the gradual increase in global temperatures. The alarming rate at which this all-year-round ice has thawed off has led to speculation that if proper and comprehensive measures are not put in place, the world’s dry lands could disappear under the rising sea levels as early as 2030. Nonetheless, it is not all doom and gloom since the reduction in ice cover in areas primarily covered by massive ice layers has resulted in various significant advantages. For instance, a shipping company has recently begun operating on the Northwest Passage linking Alaska, Greenland and northern parts of Canada. Once the ice thawed off, an ice-free, easily navigable route was established which grants access to some of the world’s largest oil deposits as well as other valuable minerals. Therefore, opponents to the much-debated concept that the rising sea levels pose a danger to the existence of the universe have advertently pointed that this is a natural process that is beneficial to the human race. This research paper shall analyze various documentaries, reports and quantitative research papers and shall take a stand that rising sea levels pose an imminent danger on the survivorship of the human race. Therefore, urgent steps need to be formulated and executed in order to curb the human race’s self destructive techniques or else the world’s dry lands will be submerged in the near future.
There are several arguments as well as quantitative research papers that are in support of the proposition that the increasing sea levels are a result of global warming. These theorems stipulate that significant steps must be taken in order to curb the rising sea levels. First, statistical research conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found out that sea levels have continually risen by 3.1 millimeters every year for the past 19 years. This translates to an increase of 58.9 millimeters since 1993. Evidently, these staggering findings indicate that the world’s dry lands are slowly being submerged. A concrete study carried out by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has found out that several low-lying nations as well as numerous islands have been hard-hit by gradual rise in sea levels. For instance, two uninhabited islands located in the Pacific Ocean have been entirely submerged. In addition, residents of Samoa and Tonga islands have been forced to seek shelter in higher grounds due to the fact that shorelines have receded by as much as 160 feet. Moreover, residents living in Tuvalu islands are finding fresh water for consumption increasingly hard to come by due to the fact that their ground water has become salty. Domestic water problems have been coupled with destructive ocean swells as well as very strong hurricanes forcing them to rebuild their shelters time and again. These rapid and devastating effects caused by receding shorelines and increasingly high sea levels have not only caused significant problems to the human race but have also resulted in changes in regional ecosystems. For instance, mangrove forests that are found along the Bangladesh coastline have given way to strong tidal waves. Traditionally, these forests serve as buffers against strong sea breezes and storms that lead to massive property destruction. Unfortunately, steps to curb the rising sea levels have not been formulated or existing policies have been executed half-heartedly. Evidently, the world’s existence is in jeopardy but man seems unconcerned about his future.
Secondly, research has indicated that polar glaciers have been melting and retreating rapidly in the past 7 years. The World Glacier Monitoring Service has shown that 90 percent of the total area previously occupied by glaziers is covered by sea water. Therefore, this implies that glaziers are melting at a faster rate than the rate at which sea water is refreezing. Evidence points to the fact that the world’s temperatures have increased in the past two centuries and are solely responsible for thawing and the increase in sea water volumes. Greenhouse gases have been highly attributed as responsible for the rise in global temperatures. This is due to the fact that they deplete the ozone layer. Consequently, this allows shortwave energy from the sun to reach the earth’s surface at a higher intensity. Some of this energy is absorbed by the earth’s surface whereas the rest is reflected back to the atmosphere as long-wave energy which is mainly reabsorbed by greenhouses instead of escaping beyond the earth’s atmosphere into space. Therefore, greenhouses have a double-effect in raising global temperatures which resultantly lead to rapid thawing of polar glaciers. This consequently leads to an increase in sea water volumes as well as the surface area occupied by sea water.
On the other hand, opponents of global warming and the rise in sea levels have stipulated that evidence in support of rising sea levels is highly circumstantial and projections are based on data that is not verifiable. For instance, scientists carried out an investigation on the effects of global warming on a 200-mile strip on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and found out that by the year 2100, sea water would have risen by a meter. However, after an in-depth review by critics and analysts alike, it was found out that these projections were based on peer-reviewed literature whereby the information used to base these projections could not be directly attributed to global warming. Naturally, waves have an erosive effect on shore lines. They suck up sand and stow sand away into the ocean through a continuous forward and back lash process. Over time, the cumulative erosive process leads to the advance of the ocean on previously dry land. Therefore, attributing the rise in sea levels or submergence of low-lying coasts to global warming may not be entirely correct.
In addition, reports on global warming and the rise in sea levels are normally written in a way that they are geared towards catching the public’s eye. They predict that unless policies are formulated soon and steps taken to curb the rise in sea levels, the world is bound to disappear under the ocean. Evidently, such alarms have not gone down well with some opponents of global warming as well as businessmen. For instance, predictions of sudden storms and hurricanes along North Carolina’s coast have been responsible for scaring away tourists who frequent the beach. As a result, businesses reliant on tourism have suffered heavily. Therefore, while evidence presented in support of global warming and the rise in sea level may be substantial, it has elicited a lot of concern as well as heavy opposition. Hence, enacting measures that would otherwise curb these disasters in future has been neglected.
In conclusion, there is significant amount of data that suggests that the world is in eminent danger of being submerged if proper policies are not formulated and implemented in time. Scientists warn that even if these policies are implemented immediately, it will take a lengthy period of time before there is a significant reversal in trends that depict the rise in sea levels. Skeptics are of the affirmative that there is nothing unusual with trends that indicate that global temperatures are increasing on a yearly basis. In fact, current world temperatures are lower than projections during the Middle Ages (Mediaeval Warm Period during 800 to 1300 A.D). In addition, there has been a conflict in information taken from NASA satellite and on-the-surface weather stations with the latter indicative of a rapid rise in global temperature in the past 30 years. However, data from satellites indicate that there have been few or no changes in global temperatures as well as minimal increase in sea water volumes. Whereas data from satellites is deemed to be more accurate, the human race cannot afford to discard evidence that points to the fact that sea levels have risen marginally in the past two centuries. Recent hurricanes in the United States such as Hurricane Katrina provide sufficient evidence that the sea levels are rising and ecosystems changing. Therefore, in order to curb this looming disaster, we must act as soon as possible or else be caught flat-footed.