A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) study has predicted that certain cities face the most threat due to rising sea levels due to melting ice caps that is triggered by climate change and global warming. The NASA tool has warned that Mumbai, New York, London, and Mangalore face danger due to floods as ice caps keep melting and lead to rising sea levels.
NASA’s predictions seems to be correct as heavy rainfall has been lashing Mumbai and Mangalore frequently, resulting in flooding of several pockets of the area. According to the NASA study, the southeastern coast of India in Tamil Nadu has seen a shocking 550 mm or 21.7 inches of rain, whereas the total rainfall in that region has been about 200 mm or 7.9 inches.
‘As countries and cities try to mitigate flooding, they have to think about 100 years in future, and they want to assess the risk in the same way as insurance companies do,” says Erik Ivins, a senior researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory run by NASA in the USA.
NASA says low-pressure produced rain in Tamil Nadu and south coastal Andhra Pradesh. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, also helps climate researchers determine vulnerable ice caps that are in particular danger of melting away and that climate change experts should be ‘most worried about’. It also details the catastrophic effect that the melting could have on the world’s coastal cities. The scientists point out that as land ice melts and is taken in by the oceans, the Earth’s gravitational as well as rotational potentials get disturbed. This results in strong patterns of rising sea levels (SLR).
In the coming century, glacial melt and rising sea levels could potentially rise so much that it could pose a threat to Mangalore (sea levels rise by 15.98 cm), Mumbai (15.26 cm), New York (10.65 cm), the study added. The predictions are based on the analysis conducted and data gathered by a tool that has been developed by NASA to predict cities that are most prone to inundation due to melting of ice caps and a warmer climate.
‘This provides, for each city, a picture of which glaciers, ice sheets and ice caps are of importance,” scientists said to media.
There has been a consensus among Earth and climate change scientists and researchers that the melting of land ice as well as those at the poles significantly lead to sea-level rise (SLR). They also agree that greater global warming would accelerate the risks to human civilizations. As land ice continues to be lost to the oceans, the disturbance in the Earth’s gravitational as well as rotational indices can lead to strong overall impact. There has been a dearth of reliable forecasting models mapping clearly future ice changes.
The NASA tool tries to correctly link and predict rising sea levels (LSL) changes. The tool uses advanced mathematical models to determine the gradient of rising sea levels keeping in mind local variations in ice thickness of the important ice drainage systems of the world. Exhaustive mapping of the gradients has lead to the new diagnostic tool called gradient fingerprint mapping (GFM). The tool helps one with more accurate assessment of rising sea levels and coastal inundation in the future. There could be major consequences for Antarctica and Greenland, leading to flooding of major port cities, depend on their location with respect to the drainage system. For instance, London is affected by changes in the western part of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), while New York is affected by changes in northeastern portions of GrIS.
The study has applied the NASA tool GFM to 293 big port cities in order to help coastal planners to calculate rising sea levels and prepare for the future.