Monday 27 September 2021

Rising Seas: If All The Ice Melted

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Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and Nicoya Peninsula would disappear!

Photo credit: National Geographic
Photo credit: National Geographic

National Geographic, by way of an interactive map, shows the world’s new coastlines if seal level rises 216 feet (some 66 metres). The map shows how the world is ow, with only one difference: all the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents an inland seas.

For North America, the entire Atlantic seaboard would vanish, along with Florida and the Gulf Coast. California, San Francisco’s hills would become a cluster of islands and the Central Valley a giant bay. The Gulf of California would stretch north past the latitude of San Diego – no that there’d be a San Diego.

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In South America, the Amazon Basin in the north and the Paraguay River Basin in the south would become Atlantic inlets, wiping out Buenos Aires (Argentina), coastal Uruguay and most of Paraguay. Mountainous stretches woul survive along the Caribbean coast and in Central America.

In that scenario, Costa Rica’s OSA and NICOYA peninsulas would disappear completely.

Photo credit: National Geographic
Photo credit: National Geographic

Costa Rican oceanographer, Omar Lizano, says coastal areas like Palo Seco, Isla Damas and beaches like Bejuco and Hermosa on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast, would have problems in 100 years time with the rise in seal level. In the Caribbean coast, areas like Cahuita, Puero Viejo, Manzanilo and Cocles, among others, will also have major problems, may even be wiped out.

Alvaro Sagot, lawyer and environmentalist, told, the forecasts are catastrophic and claims by environmentalists are criticized, but nobody at present is foreseeing actions to better conditions in the future.

“It’s definitely apocalyptic…” says Sagot.

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The National Georgraphic report says that in May the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million, the highest since three million years ago. Sea levels then may have been as much as 65 feet (20 metres) above today’s; the Northern Hemisphere was largely ice free year-round. It would take centuries for the oceans to reach such catastrophic heights again, and much depends on whether we manage to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. In the short term scientists are still uncertain about how fast and how high seas will rise. Estimates have repeatedly been too conservative.

Global warming affects sea level in two ways. About a third of its current rise comes from thermal expansion—from the fact that water grows in volume as it warms. The rest comes from the melting of ice on land. So far it’s been mostly mountain glaciers, but the big concern for the future is the giant ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Six years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report predicting a maximum of 23 inches of sea-level rise by the end of this century. But that report intentionally omitted the possibility that the ice sheets might flow more rapidly into the sea, on the grounds that the physics of that process was poorly understood.

The experts say that Costa Rica should follow the U.S. model, where coastal communities and industries have already begun moving toward the mainland to avoid future catastrophes.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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