MIT Researchers Find Greenhouse Gases Cause Further Rise In Sea-levelBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Simon Fraser University have found that the Earth will continue to witness a rise in sea levels for centuries. This comes even after the world is successful at stopping the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Phys.org reported that the researchers discovered that global warming from short-lived compounds, greenhouse gases like methane, chlorofluorocarbons or hydrofluorocarbons, which stay in the atmosphere for a few years can actually cause sea levels to rise for centuries. Apparently, it can still have a negative impact even after the atmosphere has been cleared of the pollutants.
Co-author Susan Solomon, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at MIT, explained how important it is to know how climate changes work and how long they last. In a 2012 article by Business Insider, countries like Kiribati, the Maldives and Seychelles, among others, are the ones most at risk of disappearing with the rise of sea-levels.
There have been several studies on this issue. It has consistently shown one thing: that even if emissions of carbon dioxide caused by humans were to be completely stopped, its negative impact on the atmosphere and the ocean would continue for over 1,000 years.
According to The Washington Post, the atmospheric warming caused by these greenhouse gases is expected to decrease relatively quicker after carbon dioxide emissions have been stopped. However, the consequences on the oceans last longer.
The researchers utilized a climate model to study the impact of several greenhouse gases on thermal expansion. In the simulation, the scientists used high emissions well until the year 2050 and then halted the process so that the atmospheric levels would decline.
It was found that other gases only stay in the atmosphere for a relatively short amount of time. Methane, for example, only stays in the atmosphere for about 10 years. This is short compared to carbon dioxide, which can stay as long as 200 years or more.
Moreover, the scientists discovered that, even after a hundred years after the emissions were stopped, 75 percent of the thermal expansion caused by methane is still in the oceans. Furthermore, 40 percent of the gas is still there even after 500 years.