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Deltas and HumansA Long Relationship now Threatened by Global Change$
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Thomas S. Bianchi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199764174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199764174.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Effects of Sea-Level Rise and Subsidence on Deltas

Effects of Sea-Level Rise and Subsidence on Deltas

(p.91) 5 Effects of Sea-Level Rise and Subsidence on Deltas
Deltas and Humans

Thomas S. Bianchi

Oxford University Press

As I briefly mentioned in Chapter 3, the global mean sea level, as deduced from the accumulation of paleo-sea level, tide gauge, and satellite-altimeter data, rose by 0.19 m (range, 0.17–0.21 m) between 1901 and 2010 (see Figure 3.3). Global mean sea level represents the longer-term global changes in sea level, without the short-term variability, and is also commonly called eustatic sea-level change. On an annual basis, global mean sea-level change translates to around 1.5 to 2 mm. During the last century, global sea level rose by 10 to 25 cm. Projections of sea-level rise for the period from 2000 to 2081 indicate that global mean sea-level rise will likely be as high as 0.52 to 0.98 m, or 8 to 16 mm/ yr, depending on the greenhouse gas emission scenarios used in the models. Mean sea-level rise is primarily controlled by ocean thermal expansion. But there is also transfer of water from land to ocean via melting of land ice, primarily in Greenland and Antarctica. Model predictions indicate that thermal expansion will increase with global warming because the contribution from glaciers will decrease as their volume is lost over time. (Take a look at Figure 5.1 if you have doubts about glaciers melting.) And remember our discussion in Chapter 2 about the role of the oceans in absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and the resultant ocean acidification in recent years. The global ocean also absorbs about 90% of all the net energy increase from global warming as well, which is why the ocean temperature is increasing, which in turn results in thermal expansion and sea-level rise. To make things even more complicated, the expansion of water will vary with latitude because expansion of seawater is greater with increasing temperature. In any event, sea level is expected to rise by 1 to 3 m per degree of warming over the next few millennia.

Keywords:   Bangkok, Climate refugees, Deforestation, Gas flaring, Ice Age, Larsen Ice Shelf, Mangrove forests, Niger Delta, Pedersen Glacier, Sand mining

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