It should come as no surprise that Earth’s sea levels are rising. Researchers have been studying it for decades now, but it can be hard to visualize something that’s occurring on such a grand scale. With NASA’s latest animation, we can see just how dramatic it really is.
Made by the Scientific Visualization Studio, a NASA project devoted to helping people learn about Earth and Space Science research activities at NASA, the animation depicts just how much the sea’s surface has risen since 1993. When played on a 4K 85-inch display, the measurement markings in the video are accurate to the real world.
Satellites first began making reliable recordings of global sea levels back in 1993. Since then, the global average has risen almost four inches. While that may not sound like all that much, when taking into account just how big the ocean is… well, it’s a lot. So much, in fact, that NASA says that it is “unprecedented over the past 2,500-plus years.”
We’re not in the dark about why it’s happening, either. Despite that, however, we’re not doing all that much to curb it. The climate crisis is the main culprit. As heat from our rapidly warming planet is absorbed by the ocean, the water expands. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a frightening pace, adding to the amount of water in the seas. Melting glaciers add significant amounts to it, as well.
Already, we’re seeing drastic effects. Low-lying island nations are getting smaller every year and storm surges are getting more and more violent as storms become more and more powerful. It’s almost inevitable that the coming years will see more disasters related to rising seas, and NASA’s animation is a stark yet simple reminder of it.