Sea Level Will Continue To Rise For Centuries Despite Methane Vanishing From Atmosphere

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Jan 10, 2017 12:04 PM EST

VILLINGILI, MALDIVES - NOVEMBER 7: An expat worker stops to look at the view of Male from the suburb island of Villingili on November 7, 2016 in Villingili, Maldives. The Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, is the world's lowest-lying country, with no part lying more than 2m above sea level and more than 80 percent of its scattered islands less than one meter above sea level. The island nation's future is under threat from anticipated Global sea level rise, caused by global warming, with many of its islands already suffering from coastal erosion. (Photo : http://www.gettyimages.in/license/621773450)

Global warming is currently the planet's biggest concern causing climatic changes and leading to the polar ice caps to melt into the sea, thus raising the sea level alarmingly however some scientists claim the greenhouse gases are equally responsible for the act.

According to The Washington Post a dangerous phenomenon known as thermal expansion is causing this alarming rise in sea levels all over the world. Gases like methane are released from the greenhouse and go up into the atmosphere. The heat generated is sometimes absorbed by the water bodies and thus lead to their expansion.

In the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a new study written by Susan Solomon and Daniel Gilford of MIT and Kirsten Zickfeld of Simon Fraser University that although gases like methane stay in the atmosphere for lesser amount of time but their effect on the expansion of the sea levels is long lasting; sometimes for centuries to come even if the humans stop emitting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The gases other than carbon dioxide and methane are various forms of compounds like chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons. The main reason stated for the waterbodies attracting the heat is the fundamental movement of the sea waves.

The process that takes place is known as "overturning circulations" in which warm waves coming from the equator to poles catch the heat emitted from the atmospheric gases and gets circulated all over the globe. According to the scientists it can take more than a century for the heat to be released by the ocean back into the atmosphere.

According to Phys, the Montreal Protocol has been somewhat like a sigh of relief for the researchers. This protocol was signed by 197 countries in 1989 and has been somewhat effective in curbing the harmful emission of gases worldwide.

If the Montreal Protocol was not there and the carbon emissions would have continued, the researchers are of the opinion that the sea levels could have risen by at least 6 inches all over the planet by 2050.

In the words of MIT researcher Susan Solomon, "Amazingly, a gas with a 10-year lifetime can actually cause enduring sea-level changes," She adds that it will not be easy to stop emission and have everything go to a state where there will be no industries. Already the existing amount of compounds emitted is enough to torment the ozone and oceans significantly.

Many more initiatives and centuries of patience is required to curb this dangerous situation. Hopefully some day the oceans will come back to their normal levels after releasing all the absorbed heat over the years.

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