Climate change, ocean warming, land ice melt and sea level rise
From Laboratory of Geophysical and Oceanographic Studies (LEGOS), Toulouse, France & ISSI, Bern, Switzerland
It is now well established that the Earth‘s climate is warming and that the main reason is the accumulation inside the atmosphere of green house gases produced by anthropogenic fossil fuel combustion and change in land use. Global warming has already several visible consequences, in particular increase of the Earth’s mean temperature and of ocean heat content, melting of glaciers, and ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets. Ocean warming causes thermal expansion of sea waters, hence sea level rise. Similarly, land ice melt that ultimately reaches the oceans, also causes sea level to rise. In this presentation, we summarize the most up-to-date knowledge about climate change and associated impacts on ocean warming, land ice melt and sea level rise. We also present sea level projections for the 21st century under different warming scenarios, highlighting the regional variability that superimposes the global mean rise. Finally, we briefly discuss the many factors (due to natural phenomena and direct anthropogenic forcing) causing adverse effects in coastal zones and show that climate-related sea level rise will generally amplify the vulnerability of these regions.