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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Rising Tides

Rising Tides

Wave action La Jolla, California (credit: Wikicommons)


Like any wise mariner, we should be paying more attention to rising tides. The Jet Propulsion Lab in California has been using radar and other satellite data to monitor the oceans and sea levels over the past 30 years. The news is not good.

According to JPL, the oceans absorb more than 90 percent of the excess heat from our warming atmosphere. This heat increases water volume, melts polar ice sheets and glaciers on Greenland and Antarctica, that has resulted in rising sea levels around the world. Sea level has increased 3.2mm/year each year since 1993 and combined in a graph by the Lab.


                  Sea level rise, 1993-present (credit: JPL)

The newest remote sensing satellite for monitoring the oceans, Sentinel-6, was launched recently to continue to gather more granular ocean measurements. The US and European collaboration will measure sea level surface heights and other key ocean features including surface wind speeds and wave heights. The first new data has been received and is now being analyzed. The early indications show that Sentinel-6 data will greatly assist in providing improved marine and weather forecasts. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manager said, “In a changing climate, it is a great achievement that these data are ready for release.”

The old adage of 'rising tides, sailors be wise' is now more relevant that ever. WHB

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