File Name: map of world oceans and seas .zip
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Global mean sea level has risen about 8—9 inches 21—24 centimeters since , with about a third of that coming in just the last two and a half decades. The rising water level is mostly due to a combination of meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets and thermal expansion of seawater as it warms. In , global mean sea level was 3. From to , global sea level rose 0. Explore this interactive graph: Click and drag either axis to display different parts of the graph. To squeeze or stretch the graph in either direction, hold your Shift key down, then click and drag.
The light blue line shows seasonal 3-month sea level estimates from Church and White The darker line is based on University of Hawaii Fast Delivery sea level data. The values are shown as change in sea level in millimeters compared to the average. The global mean water level in the ocean rose by 0. By the end of the century, global mean sea level is likely to rise at least one foot 0. In some ocean basins, sea level has risen as much as inches centimeters since the start of the satellite record.
Regional differences exist because of natural variability in the strength of winds and ocean currents, which influence how much and where the deeper layers of the ocean store heat. Between and , mean sea level has risen across most of the world ocean blue colors. In some ocean basins, sea level has risen inches centimeters. Rates of local sea level dots can be amplified by geological processes like ground settling or offset by processes like the centuries-long rebound of land masses from the loss of ice age glaciers.
In the United States, the fastest rates of sea level rise are occurring in the Gulf of Mexico from the mouth of the Mississippi westward, followed by the mid-Atlantic. Only in Alaska and a few places in the Pacific Northwest are sea levels falling, though that trend will reverse under high greenhouse gas emission pathways. Atlas of the Oceans. South Beach, Miami on May 3, In urban settings along coastlines around the world, rising seas threaten infrastructure necessary for local jobs and regional industries.
Roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, oil and gas wells, power plants, sewage treatment plants, landfills—the list is practically endless—are all at risk from sea level rise.
Explore past and future frequency of high-tide flooding at U. Climate Resilience Toolkit. Nuisance flooding in Annapolis in Around the U. Photo by Amy McGovern. In the natural world, rising sea level creates stress on coastal ecosystems that provide recreation, protection from storms, and habitat for fish and wildlife, including commercially valuable fisheries. As seas rise, saltwater is also contaminating freshwater aquifers , many of which sustain municipal and agricultural water supplies and natural ecosystems.
Global warming is causing global mean sea level to rise in two ways. First, glaciers and ice sheets worldwide are melting and adding water to the ocean. Second, the volume of the ocean is expanding as the water warms. A third, much smaller contributor to sea level rise is a decline in the amount of liquid water on land—aquifers, lakes and reservoirs, rivers, soil moisture. This shift of liquid water from land to ocean is largely due to groundwater pumping. In the early 20th century, the glacier met the water and calved icebergs into a marginal lake near the bay.
Photos courtesy of Louis H. Pedersen and Bruce F. From the s up through the last decade or so, melting and heat expansion were contributing roughly equally to observed sea level rise. But the melting of mountain glaciers and ice sheets has accelerated:.
As a result, the amount of sea level rise due to melting with a small addition from groundwater transfer and other water storage shifts from — was nearly twice the amount of sea level rise due to thermal expansion.
Melt streams on the Greenland Ice Sheet on July 19, Ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets as well as alpine glaciers has accelerated in recent decades. Sea level is measured by two main methods: tide gauges and satellite altimeters. Tide gauge stations from around the world have measured the daily high and low tides for more than a century, using a variety of manual and automatic sensors. Using data from scores of stations around the world, scientists can calculate a global average and adjust it for seasonal differences.
Since the early s, sea level has been measured from space using radar altimeters, which determine the height of the sea surface by measuring the return speed and intensity of a radar pulse directed at the ocean. The higher the sea level, the faster and stronger the return signal is.
To estimate how much of the observed sea level rise is due to thermal expansion, scientists measure sea surface temperature using moored and drifting buoys , satellites, and water samples collected by ships. Temperatures in the upper half of the ocean are measured by a global fleet of aquatic robots. Deeper temperatures are measured by instruments lowered from oceanographic research ships. Observed sea level since the start of the satellite altimeter record in black line , plus independent estimates of the different contributions to sea level rise: thermal expansion red and added water, mostly due to glacier melt blue.
NOAA Climate. When water shifts from land to ocean, the increase in mass increases the strength of gravity over oceans by a small amount. From these gravity shifts, scientists estimate the amount of added water. As global temperatures continue to warm, sea level will continue to rise. How much it will rise depends mostly on the rate of future carbon dioxide emissions and future global warming. How fast it will rise depends mostly on the rate of glacier and ice sheet melting. The pace of sea level rise accelerated beginning in the s, coinciding with acceleration in glacier and ice sheet melting.
In , at the request of the U. Their experts concluded that even with lowest possible greenhouse gas emission pathways, global mean sea level would rise at least 8 inches 0. With high rates of emissions, sea level rise would be much higher, but was unlikely to exceed 6. Interagency Sea Level Rise Taskforce. Based on their new scenarios, global sea level is very likely to rise at least 12 inches 0.
On future pathways with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, sea level rise could be as high as 8. Observed sea level from tide gauges dark gray and satellites light gray from , with future sea level through under six possible future scenarios colored lines. The scenarios differ based on potential future rates of greenhouse gas emissions and differences in the plausible rates of glacier and ice sheet loss.
Since the report report, new research has emerged showing that some of the more extreme estimates of how quickly those ice sheets could melt were more plausible than they previously seemed. Along almost all U. For the densely populated Atlantic seaboard north of Virginia and the western Gulf of Mexico, sea level rise will likely be higher than the global average for all pathways. On the bright side, if future energy choices keep us on one the three lowest pathways, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest are likely to experience local sea level rise that is less than the global average.
In all cases, however, rising sea levels are increasing coastal flood risk. High-tide flooding is already a serious problem in many coastal communities, and it is only expected to get much worse in the future with continued rising seas.
Do you have feedback to offer on this or another article? Let us know what you think. They are documented in Church and White It is based on a weighted average of global tide gauge records collected by the U. The weights for each gauge in the global mean are determined by a cluster analysis that groups gauges from locations where sea level tends to vary in the same way.
This prevents over-emphasizing regions where there are many tide gauges located in close proximity. The most recent year of data should be considered preliminary. Cassotta, S. Chapter 3: Polar regions. Roberts, V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, M. Tignor, E. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, M. Nicolai, A.
Okem, J. Petzold, B. Rama, N. Weyer eds. In press. Church, J. Clark, A. Cazenave, J. Gregory, S. Jevrejeva, A. Levermann, M.
This graph uses the to average as a baseline for depicting change. Choosing a different baseline period would not change the shape of the data over time. The shaded band shows the range of uncertainty in the data, based on the number of measurements collected and the precision of the methods used. It is based on a combination of direct measurements and satellite measurements. White areas did not have enough data to calculate reliable long-term trends.
To the south it is bounded by the Southern Ocean or Antarctica , depending on the definition in use. The Indian Ocean has been known by its present name since at least , when the Latin form Oceanus Orientalis Indicus "Indian Eastern Ocean" is attested, named for India, which projects into it. It was earlier known as the Eastern Ocean , a term that was still in use during the midth century see map , as opposed to the Western Ocean Atlantic before the Pacific was surmised. Conversely, Chinese explorers in the Indian Ocean during the 15th century called it the Western Oceans. In contrast to the Atlantic and Pacific, the Indian Ocean is enclosed by major landmasses and an archipelago on three sides and does not stretch from pole to pole, and can be likened to an embayed ocean. It is centered on the Indian Peninsula.
Ocean and Sea Borders
Indian Ocean , body of salt water covering approximately one-fifth of the total ocean area of the world. It stretches for more than 6, miles 10, km between the southern tips of Africa and Australia and, without its marginal seas, has an area of about 28,, square miles 73,, square km. In the southwest it joins the Atlantic Ocean south of the southern tip of Africa, and to the east and southeast its waters mingle with those of the Pacific Ocean. The question of defining the oceanic limits of the Indian Ocean is complicated and remains unsettled.
The World Ocean or Global Ocean colloquially the Sea or the Ocean is the interconnected system of the oceanic waters of the sea , and comprises the bulk of the hydrosphere , covering ,, square kilometres ,, square miles or The notion can be found in the root of the concept of ocean , though the contemporary concept of the World Ocean was coined in the early 20th century by the Russian oceanographer Yuly Shokalsky to refer to the continuous ocean that covers and encircles most of Earth. The unity and continuity of the World Ocean, with relatively free interchange among its parts, is of fundamental importance to oceanography. Plate tectonics , post-glacial rebound , and sea level rise continually change the coastline and structure of the world ocean. That said a global ocean has existed in one form or another on Earth for eons.
Remind students that, in addition to providing transportation routes, ocean s and sea s contain valuable natural resource s, such as oil trapped below the sea floor and fish. Divide students into small groups. Explain to students that their tasks will be to define the rules, in any way that they see fit, for dividing the resources of the North Sea and to create a map defining those borders. Make sure students understand that the borders they draw within the North Sea will allocate resources to individual countries. The only rules are that a country must have a coast line that borders the North Sea.
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