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Global Warming and Sea Level

by Alex in Toulouse Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 01:23:20 PM EST

This is an extract from the blog of a few friends. Basically a simple Java applet that enables playing with the sea level and see what impact this has on the world's coastlines.

This is a game: play with the world's sea level, while keeping in mind that the most pessimistic models predict an elevation of 1 meter before 2100 (start by entering 1 meter just to see ...). Using maps of France, Europe, or the World, and current topography, create variations in sea levels and picture the result.

Nota bene: in French, and Java required (activated)

Sources: ENS Lyon/Planet-Terre & La Liste à Suivre

From a visualization point of view, it would be nice if the area from 0 to the new sea level would somehow be visible with another color.
by srutis on Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 02:05:11 PM EST
Interesting idea...so how high is it suppose to raise by 2020?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 04:33:25 PM EST
I don't know, but I found that if the sea level goes down by 28 meters then we French can start walking into England  ;)))
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 04:49:56 PM EST
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Just to recall, during the Last Glaciation Maximum (about 20'000 BP), the sea level was 120 meters below what it is today. The North Sea was a nice plain where ours ancestors did hunt animals.
The Mediterranean Sea also ran dry during the Messisian Salinity Crisis (about 8 mio years ago). Because of an uplift, no water came through the strait of Gibraltar, and the evaporation in the sea was not balanced with water from rivers. So you can now admire nice salt deposits from this period.
by Hansvon on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 05:31:35 AM EST
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With a 1 meter elevation in our lifetime, Italy will lose the heel in its boot shape!
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 06:40:22 PM EST
This does help us see the impact. We need to have more of these close up maps of different areas of the world...particularly Florida and the Gulf of Mexcio coast. This might help people see the impact. Right now they simply are unable to imagine it. Something like this could be a real eye opener. But it has to be small maps...even smaller than the France map, if it is to have an impact.

And after reading about the quickening pace of the ice melt in Greenland, we really need to do something.

by gradinski chai on Sat Nov 19th, 2005 at 03:50:53 AM EST
I really wish that the map could be closer up also.  We will buy land at a higher elevation next year because we are certain our home will be under water in 25 years.  But there is a lot of land that disappears in this that is well above the rises I enter.  How could land at 6 meters disappear at 1?  I understand it would be an island, but not completely gone.
by madrone on Sat Nov 19th, 2005 at 09:04:19 AM EST
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Most freely available datasets are not so accurate. For instance, the anticipated elevation accuracy of the famous Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) dataset was <=6 m locally (200 km) and 16 <m globally. But practically it's worse.
by Hansvon on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 05:55:47 AM EST
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I went the other way, seeing how far down the oceans would have to drop before they disappeared completely.

Why do such a thing?

because in extreme global warming, our future atmosphere is going to be mostly composed of water vapor, be somewhere on the order of five times more dense than the current atmosphere of Venus.

Set the toggle to -7000 meters.

The Earth looks very similar to Venus once you do.

Have Keyboard. Will Travel. :)

by cskendrick (cs ke nd ri c k @h ot m ail dot c om) on Sat Nov 19th, 2005 at 02:39:29 PM EST
In addition to rising sea levels and storm surges, the heating of the globe is already causing an impact on public health.

Earth's warming climate is estimated to contribute to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses each year, according to the World Health Organization, a toll that could double by 2030.

The data, being published today in the journal Nature, indicate that climate change is driving up rates of malaria, malnutrition and diarrhea throughout the world.

Health and climate scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who conducted one of the most comprehensive efforts yet to measure the impact of global warming on health, said the WHO data also show that rising temperatures disproportionately affect poor countries that have done little to create the problem. They reached their conclusions after entering data on climate-sensitive diseases into mapping software.

"Those most vulnerable to climate change are not the ones responsible for causing it," said the study's lead author, Jonathan Patz, a professor at the university's Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and its department of population health sciences. "Our energy-consumptive lifestyles are having lethal impacts on other people around the world, especially the poor."

The regions most at risk from climate change include the Asian and South American Pacific coasts, as well as the Indian Ocean coast and sub-Saharan Africa. Patz said that was because climate-sensitive diseases are more prevalent there and because those regions are most vulnerable to abrupt shifts in climate. Large cities are also likely to experience more severe health problems because they produce what scientists refer to as the urban "heat island" effect.

Just this week, WHO officials reported that warmer temperatures and heavy rain in South Asia have led to the worst outbreak of dengue fever there in years. The mosquito-borne illness, which is now beginning to subside, has infected 120,000 South Asians this year and killed at least 1,000, WHO said.

From article in WaPo.

by Plan9 on Sat Nov 19th, 2005 at 02:53:59 PM EST
A fine article up until this point:

Just this week, WHO officials reported that warmer temperatures and heavy rain in South Asia have led to the worst outbreak of dengue fever there in years. The mosquito-borne illness, which is now beginning to subside, has infected 120,000 South Asians this year and killed at least 1,000, WHO said.

That is pure scaremongering again, which I resent. There's nothing to indicate that the general global warming caused a spell of extended heat in South Asia. If in the next 4 years the same is observed, then we're talking. News journalists constantly mix up weather phenomeneon with climate trends and it's wrong, wrong, wrong. It's too early to draw these conclusions and the reporting here is misleading.

I hope this doesn't sound too harsh anyway, but 150.000 more deaths is a really, really low number. Certainly with the kind of numbers the WHO has to work with to make a statistical analysis like this. Personally, I had expected it at least 5-fold larger.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sun Nov 20th, 2005 at 05:28:40 AM EST
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