Imagine the global temperatures would rise by 2 degrees Celsius, it doesn’t sound that bad. 2 degrees more, no big deal… or is it?
Now, imagine a boot-less Louisiana, or the Bay Area with another, inner bay. Frightening? Yes, I would say so myself. Yet, that is exactly what will happen, as a new study shows that the current amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is dangerously high.
In fact, the researchers from the University of Florida, which published the paper in Science, say that the last time that the levels of carbon dioxide were this high was three million years ago. We have few memories from that time, but what we do know is that sharks were much bigger (the so-called megasharks), the Earth was warmer by three to five degrees Fahrenheit, which made the Atlantic a whole 14.4 degrees warmer.
This all may seem like just numbers to you, but try to think what the Earth would look like if all the seas would rise by 20 feet, or six meters.
Estimated numbers show that the U.S. would lose 48 thousand square miles. In these areas there now live 23.4 million people. Of all the states, Florida would be the most affected, losing houses and cities amounting to nine million people.
26 major cities in the US will face flooding crises.
And also coastal cities like New York, Honk Kong, or Dhaka will be vulnerable to storm damage that will cost those establishments trillions of dollars annually. Climate Central is estimating that a total of 150 million people are living in the areas which would be underwater if the sea levels rise.
The results of these can already be seen in the eight-inch rise which has affected Earth’s waters since pre-industrial times. The obvious disastrous outcomes are to be seen in photos from hurricane Sandy, where you can clearly see the sea levels rise and flooding the coast.
The direct reason for this, besides greenhouse gases and global warming, is the struggle of the ice-sheets to adapt to current climate conditions. The most worrying of these struggles is that of the West-Antarctic Ice Sheet which is in constant collapse, and contains ice which could rise the sea levels by up to 13 feet.
With these changes set to appear gradually until 2100, if the current levels of CO2 emissions decline, which they aren’t, then we can easily see why is much more than a simple problem.
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