Sea Level Rise
America, Don't Drop the Ball
Global sea levels have raised about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Scientists expect seas to rise 1.3 to 3.9 feet by the end of the century, which would put the homes of more than 100 million people worldwide at risk for regular flooding or even under water.
Take a closer look at rising sea levels on NASA's Climate Time Machine.
Natalia Malley / Peace Love and Paint
Elaine Jenkins / Dabbledy Doo Face Painting
According to National Geographic, the burning of fossil fuels and other human and natural activities has released enormous amounts of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere over the past century. These emissions have caused the Earth's surface temperature to rise, and the oceans absorb about 80 percent of this additional heat.
As seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and soil contamination, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.
When large storms hit land, higher sea levels mean bigger, more powerful, and more devastating storm surges. Low-lying coastal communities around the world, including Miami, New York, New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities, face trillions of dollars in mitigation and damage costs. Some island nations and even Louisiana communities have already been displaced because of higher sea levels.