As glaciers melt and sea levels rise, threatening coastal cities, geologists are trying to predict the future by looking at what happened when sea levels rose in the past. Meanwhile, high levels of methane are showing up in the Arctic, and there’s a big danger that a huge rise of temperatures in the Arctic will destabilize huge amounts of methane currently frozen in the sea ice on the ocean floor.
In the January 22nd edition of the New York Times, Justin Gillis writes: "The question has taken on new urgency in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which caused coastal flooding that scientists say was almost certainly worsened by the modest rise of sea level over the past century. That kind of storm tide, the experts say, could become routine along American coastlines by late in this century if the ocean rises as fast as they expect.
"In previous research, scientists have determined that when the earth warms by only a couple of degrees Fahrenheit, enough polar ice melts, over time, to raise the global sea level by about 25 to 30 feet. But in the coming century, the earth is expected to warm more than that, perhaps four or five degrees, because of human emissions of greenhouse gases.
"Experts say the emissions that may make a huge increase of sea level inevitable are expected to occur in just the next few decades. They fear that because the world’s coasts are so densely settled, the rising oceans will lead to a humanitarian crisis lasting many hundreds of years.
"If the rise is slower than expected, society may have time to adjust, or to develop new technology to solve the problem of greenhouse emissions. But many scientists are plagued by a nagging fear that the opposite will occur–that their calculations will turn out to have been too conservative, and social stability will eventually be threatened by a rapid rise of the sea.
Gillis quotes geologist Maureen E. Raymo as saying, "At every point, as our knowledge increases, we’ve always discovered that the climate system is more sensitive than we thought it could be, not less."
We may not drown, but the world WILL end someday. After Noah’s ark finally reached land, God promised Noah that he would not flood the earth again, that it would be "the fire next time," and despite the rising ocean levels due to glacier melt, Whitley Strieber thinks this may be true. Read all about it in his new e-book!
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