Increasing water on land slowing down rising seas
While ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, climate change over the past decade has caused Earth’s continents to soak up and store an extra 3.2...
Washington: While ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, climate change over the past decade has caused Earth’s continents to soak up and store an extra 3.2 trillion tons of water in soils, lakes and underground aquifers temporarily slowing the rate of sea level rise by about 20 per cent, scientists have revealed.
New measurements from a NASA satellite have allowed researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California and University of California-Irvine, to identify and quantify, for the first time, how climate-driven increases of liquid water storage on land have affected the rate of sea level rise.
“We always assumed that people’s increased reliance on groundwater for irrigation and consumption was resulting in a net transfer of water from the land to the ocean,” said lead author JT Reager of JPL.
The new data are vital for understanding decadal variations in sea level change. The information will be a critical complement to future long-term projections of sea level rise, which depend on melting ice and warming oceans.
The water gains over land were spread globally but taken together; they equal the volume of Lake Huron, the world’s seventh largest lake.