Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rising seas may threaten Halifax, Boston

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet in this century may threaten Halifax, Boston and New York more than had been forecast, according to new research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

According to studies funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, sea levels could rise by "12 to 20 inches (about 30 to 50 centimeters) more than in other coastal areas" by the year 2100.

The report notes that "Unlike water in a bathtub, water in the oceans does not spread out evenly. Sea level can vary by several feet from one region to another, depending on such factors as ocean circulation and the extent to which water at lower depths is compressed."

"The oceans will not rise uniformly as the world warms," says NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl, a co-author of the paper. "Ocean dynamics will push water in certain directions, so some locations will experience sea level rise that is larger than the global average."

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