Environment

State report predicts sea levels rising due to polar ice melting

Cal Poly Professor talks about sea...

AVILA BEACH, Calif. - Sea levels could be rising quicker than experts previously predicted. 

In a recent report by The California Ocean Protection Council sea levels would increase due to the continuous melting of ice from Greenland and Antarctica.  

The ocean is constantly changing.

"Trying to understand these big changes we will need to observe these things for a longer period of time," says Ryan Walter, an Assistant Professor at Cal Poly's Physics Department. 

As a physical oceanographer, he studies the physical changes of the ocean and how they can affect biology. 

"We have seen season changes within say Avila Bay or San Luis Obispo Bay," he says. 

In a recent report, The state's Ocean Protection Council says sea levels along the state's coast could rise higher than previously predicted due how quickly the polar caps in Antarctica are melting. 

"The increase greenhouse emissions, we have seen accelerated loses of ice Greenland, and Antarctica," says Walter. 

He says changes in the ocean can be observed by looking at the different colors it can turn to and how warm or cold it can feel. 

"People often get frustrated by asking will it rise 1 to 2 feet, or a foot and a half,  they want more details they want more answers it's not always a straight forward problem," he says. 

The protection council's report says by reducing the severity of greenhouse gas emissions sea levels in certain parts of the state could rise 1 to 2.4 feet by 2100.

"The biggest thing we can control is the human element, what is going to happen with emissions," says Walter. 

However, some people living in the area aren't so concerned. 

"They used to call it global cooling now its global warming and I think they are coming up with stuff to get a rise out of everyone," says Mikaella Wright.

She was visiting Avila Beach with a friend. 

She says while people can treat the environment bad they are overthinking the affects the polar caps melting can have in the state.

"I think if it gets that bad we'll see it before it's too late and we can move the houses back or something," she says. 

For more information about the council's report, you can visit http://www.opc.ca.gov/2013/04/update-to-the-sea-level-rise-guidance-document.


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