The Imminent Danger of Rising Sea Levels to Coastal Communities


Graph showing rising sea levels since 1993

The earth’s average temperature over the past 130 years has risen considerably. As NASA gravely writes, “Sixteen of the 17 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001…” The NASA graphs above and below show a drastic decrease in land ice since 2004 coinciding with an inverse increase in sea height.

NASA graph showing decrease in Antarctica land mass

Photo via Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. NASA. 

This drastic change in sea levels represents an imminent danger to coastal communities globally. Cities from New Orleans to Miami are at risk of disappearing under water.

World leaders, with the advent of the Paris Climate Agreement, have shown some intention to fight climate change systemically by cutting back on carbon emissions and other activities that cause mass pollution. Importantly though, Russia has not ratified the agreement and the Trump administration has gone back and forth on whether it intends to honor the agreement. International efforts to combat climate change are unlikely to succeed without participation and leadership from two of the globe’s most powerful countries.

A wide-spread response is urgently needed. As the American Geophysical Union aptly writes, “Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.” Policy action must be taken, and must be taken now.

Databyte via Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. NASA.