Ocean floors sinking under weight of melting glaciers

Ocean floors sinking under weight of melting glaciers

New research shows our ocean floors are sinking under rising water levels across the globe. A team of scientists says the impact of warming seas has been underestimated and melting glaciers are putting severe pressure on capacity.

Redistribution of water, once stored in ice sheets, is causing sea levels to rise. Researchers have now found the change is also having another affect – the ocean floor is subsiding under the increasing weight of the added water, according to a new study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters.

Led by Thomas Frederikse, of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, the study explores the impact of what is known as elastic deformation.

“Due to changes in the land ice mass balance and land hydrology, the oceans have gained mass over the past decades, which results in an increase in the total load on the ocean bottom,” the study states.

“Under this increasing load, the ocean floor will subside due to elastic deformation.”

The researchers looked at data collected between 1993-2014 and found the ocean floor is sinking about 0.004 inches per year. They’re warning previous studies have not taken the effect into account, which means sea level increases have been miscalculated by as much as 8 percent.

“Over 1993-2014, the resulting globally averaged geocentric sea level change is 8% smaller than the barystatic contribution.Over the altimetry domain, the difference is about 5%, and due to this effect, barystatic sea level rise will be underestimated by more than 0.1mm/yr over 1993-2014,” the study concludes.

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Author: Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.

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