Global Warming: The Tides of the Sea

Global warming is having a significant effect on our planet. The temperature of the earth's atmosphere is gradually increasing as a result of the greenhouse effect. This is caused by increased levels of CFCs, carbon dioxide and other pollutants being released into the atmosphere.

Scientists say we must take immediate action to reduce the emissions causing global warming, or the problem will get worse. The greenhouse effect occurs because some gases in the earth's atmosphere let light in, but trap heat, in the same way as the glass panes of a greenhouse - hence the phenomenon's name.

High tide

© stockbp / Adobe Stock


What is global warming?

As the sun shines on the surface of the earth, the energy is absorbed and radiates back into the atmosphere, but when the greenhouse gas molecules trap the heat, it can't escape into space. As the number of gases in the atmosphere increases, more heat is trapped in the molecules and the climate continues to get hotter.

Scientists say we must take immediate action to reduce the emissions causing global warming, or the crisis will continue to grow. The devastating effects on the planet are already beginning to take effect - and the increase in greenhouse gases is changing the climate quicker than the living species can adapt.

The earth's climate has regularly changed between the range of temperatures we experience today and those cold enough to create the Ice Age when much of Europe and North America was covered with ice, but those changes have taken place over hundreds of thousands of years.


Why is the sea level rising?

Today, as the climate begins to warm up at a faster rate, the remaining ice sheets such as Antarctica and Greenland are starting to melt. The extra water means sea levels are set to rise more quickly and significantly.

Melted water is seeping beneath Greenland's ice sheets, causing the ice streams to move into the sea faster. Since satellite records began in 1993, the sea level has risen an average of around 3.1mm annually, but the pace of the rise has increased in recent years.

Scientists predict that by 2050, the sea level will have risen between one and 2.3 feet as the glaciers continue to melt. Sea levels are rising particularly fast along the east coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico.

The highest rise has been recorded around Galveston, Texas, where the ocean level has gone up by 12.5 inches since 1963. Scientists estimate 52% of the increase has been caused by melting land ice. Lifestyle choices people make today will determine how high the sea level rises this century, and this will potentially put coastal communities at risk.


Biggest waves ever recorded

As climate change increases the sea level, it also creates more extreme weather conditions, which put people living in coastal reasons seriously at risk.

A tsunami on the night of 9th July 1958, in Lituya Bay, Alaska, caused a wave with a record run-up height of 1,720 feet. It struck with such power that it completely covered the spur of land separating Gilbert Inlet from Lituya Bay. It continued over La Chaussee Spit, surging into the Gulf of Alaska and removing all the trees and vegetation in its path on land up to 1,720 feet above sea level. This is the highest wave ever recorded.

The highest wave ever surfed was a whopping 80ft tall. Rodrigo Koxa, of Brazil, rode the massive wave in November 2017 in Nazaré, Portugal. He received a World Surf League Big Wave Award in 2018 for his efforts.

Surfers are some of the most responsible people on Earth because they experience first-hand the detrimental effects humans' activities are having on our most valuable resource, the ocean. Groups such as the Surfers Against Sewage organisation are aiming to combat the damage done to our seas so far.

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