Sea levels are creeping up as temperatures get hotter here on Earth, and China’s State Oceanic Administration just revealed worrying information about its threat to the country’s coasts. Sea levels in 2016 in China rose 1.3 inches in just one year, a trend that could have challenging consequences.
NASA data cited by International Business Times shows sea levels are rising by 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters (mm) to 0.14 inches (3.6 mm) every year at coasts, but the statistics are far worse in China according to their oceanic administration. Sea levels are rising swiftly in China due to climate change, El Niño, and La Niña, according to the agency. Not only did sea levels rise dramatically from 2015 to 2016, but 2016 sea levels were also 3.2 inches (82 mm) higher than the average level between 1993 and 2001. In a statement, the administration said, “Against the background of global climate change, China’s coastal air and sea temperatures have soared, coastal air pressure has fallen, and sea levels have also soared.”
38 mm may not seem like much, so oceanographer Huang Gang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Atmospheric Physics put that in perspective, telling the South China Morning Post, “A few millimeters rise may seem small, but if you think about how big the ocean is, the changes make a huge difference when sea water hits the ground. The adverse impacts could come earlier if sea levels rise faster.”
The administration said vulnerable coastal areas should start preparing with infrastructure updates like repairing drains or constructing dams or dykes. They warned such actions must happen soon to avoid damage.
According to International Business Times, there are two main factors in climate change-caused rising sea levels: warmer ocean surface temperatures, which causes waters to expand, and melting glaciers. According to Reuters, sea temperatures between 1980 and 2016 increased by around 0.21 degrees Celsius, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit, per decade.