As an island in the North Atlantic the issue of global warming and rising sea levels is a real concern for us. Dozens of communities and thousands of people in Newfoundland reside close to the sea level.
We have all seen the Provincial Government's climate change commercials showing iconic land marks under water.
How serious is the threat?
A recently published report from the University of Florida that was published in the journal Science provides some insight.
The researchers investigated how historically Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have reacted to global temperature rises and therefore get a glimpse of how current climate change might impact our sea levels.
They discovered that when the average global temperature was one degrees Celsius higher than preindustrial sea levels rose between 20-30 feet . To put this in perspective, that this is about the temperature we’re currently at.
Environmental groups have been lobbying to ensure that the governments need to take the sea level issues seriously and curb global temperature rises to guard against catastrophic changes.
“This evidence leads us to conclude that the polar ice sheets are out of equilibrium with the present climate,” Lead researcher Dr. Andrea Dutton is quoted as saying. “As the planet warms, the poles warm even faster, raising important questions about how ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will respond. While this amount of sea-level rise will not happen overnight, it is sobering to realize how sensitive the polar ice sheets are to temperatures that we are on path to reach within decades.”