The rate at which the ocean is rising, known as sea-level rise, is a significant concern due to its potential impact on coastal regions and low-lying areas around the world. Sea-level rise is primarily caused by two main factors: the thermal expansion of seawater as it warms and the melting of land-based ice (glaciers and ice sheets).
As of this writing, the global average sea-level rise has been estimated to be around 3.3 millimeters (0.13 inches) per year over the past few decades. However, it’s important to note that this rate is not uniform globally, and some areas may experience higher rates of sea-level rise due to local factors.
The rate of sea-level rise has been accelerating in recent years due to ongoing global warming and the consequent increase in the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, particularly in Greenland and Antarctica. Projections for future sea-level rise vary depending on future greenhouse gas emissions and the potential behavior of ice sheets, but it is expected that sea levels will continue to rise in the coming decades and centuries.
Sea-level rise poses significant challenges for coastal communities, as it can lead to increased coastal flooding, erosion, and saltwater intrusion into freshwater sources. It can also exacerbate the impacts of storm surges and hurricanes, making coastal regions more vulnerable to natural disasters.
Governments, scientists, and policymakers are actively studying sea-level rise and its potential consequences to better understand and plan for the impacts. Mitigation efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to rising sea levels are crucial to address the challenges posed by this global issue.