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Rise in Sea Level in the Context of Climate Warming



Sea Level Rise Due to Global Warming


The modern press contains a variety of publications that provide alarming information about the global sea-level rise and possible flooding of the large coastal areas of the continents (Braasch). It is claimed that in the context of climate warming, there is the possibility of rapidly melting glaciers. It means that shortly, a rise in sea level by several meters can be expected. The flooding of the low-lying coastal parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, the United States, and other countries is supposed to be inevitable so that urgent protective measures are required (The Daily Catch).

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However, it should be mentioned that the appearing information about the intensity of the sea level growth is quite contradictory. The following proposal is aimed to discuss the possible reasons for the sea level changes, as well as the projected consequence of such a situation. The paper is going to analyze the variety of modern approaches to the abovementioned issue to introduce a possible solution to the problem.

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Problem Description

To have a deep understanding of the issue, let us analyze the data which is currently available for modern scientists.

After analyzing the data from the recorders of sea levels around the world, scientists have found that in the period from 1870 to 2004, the global sea levels rose by 19.5 cm, and during the last 50 years, the sea level rose particularly faster. Moreover, according to scientists, this pattern is getting worse. Over the entire period from 1870 to 2004, the average sea level rise was 1.44 mm per year. However, in the 20th century, the average growth rate was 1.77 mm per year. In fact, since 1950, the average increase was 1.75 mm per year. If growth continues at the same rate as it is now, the scientists warn that in this century the sea will rise by 28-34 cm.

John Church, a scientist from the Organization of Scientific and Industrial Research of the British Commonwealth, says that the rise of the sea level can have a devastating impact on some areas. It means that during storms the low-lying areas will be flooded. This will increase coastal erosion, causing the flooding of some parts of the continents. The climatologists are unanimous in their opinion that the increase in the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, is supposed to be the main factor that causes the rise of temperature on the planet.

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The abovementioned data is supported by the researches of scientists from the University of Michigan. For example, they state that the anomalous melting glaciers in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago led to the rise of the water level in the oceans.

The archipelago has more than 1.4 million square kilometers of snow ice and includes more than 35,000 islands. The researchers found that in the period between 2004 and 2009, it lost snow cover, which could fill three-quarters of a huge Lake Erie. It was found that the average temperature rises in the Arctic of one-degree results in an additional 60 cubic kilometers of melting water. As 99 percent of the world’s land, ice is in Antarctica and Greenland, these places are responsible for about half of the melting continental ice which is in the oceans. The scientists did not anticipate that the Canadian Archipelago can make a big contribution to the change in sea level either (Fischetti).

From 2004 to 2006, the region lost an average of almost 30 cubic kilometers of water per year. However, over the next three years, this figure more than tripled, i.e. 92 cubic kilometers of water per year. This led to the fact that for all six years of research, the global sea level rose by one millimeter. At first glance, this figure does not make a strong impression, but it can lead to significant consequences.


The only possible way to save the planet and avoid global flooding implies the realization of the main factors that cause the changes in the sea levels and the usage of the abovementioned data to prevent the projected ecological disaster. As anthropogenic activity is supposed to be the most harmful factor for the climate and sea changes, it is proposed to modernize the world’s ecological legislation system and create a united legal framework that will regulate the activities causing the greenhouse effect. Although the modern international environmental law is also aimed to regulate the activities and relationships which are directly or indirectly connected with the natural environment, the current legislation is not perfect, as it has a lot of blind marks.

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For example, in the national territories of the developed countries, the standards of environmental law are more stringent. Naturally, the production of environmentally dirty technology becomes unprofitable due to the very high compensation payments. It stimulates the national manufacturer to move to the areas where environmental standards are softer and the level of compensation for environmental damages is lower. It creates civil conflict. The dirty technologies are moved to third-world countries, but these countries have no prospects or resources to stop the development of pollution technologies.

The united system of international environmental law is aimed to create a legislation base that will be equal to each country without any kind of exceptions. Equal treatment and legislation will help to improve the ecological situation on the planet, reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. It means that it will help to avoid such rapid changes in the climate and, as a consequence, to stop the rise in the sea levels. This is supposed to be the most efficient method to save the planet for future generations.

Summary and Rebuttal of the Opposing Views

However, the proposed solution of the problem needs the following research, as there are a lot of the theories which argue not only on the efficiency of the law as the main tool of the environmental regulation, but also the anthropogenic activity as the main cause of the global warming. There are a lot of specialists, and their number is gradually growing, who believe that anthropogenic activity is not the main factor that causes global warming. They state that even though humanity today emits more carbon dioxide than, for example, three hundred years ago, it still does not mean that it causes global warming.

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The various estimates suggest quite different proportions of the carbon dioxide created by mankind, i.e. from 75% to a much more modest 3%. If the advocates of the theory of global warming have had unequivocal proof that a certain amount of carbon dioxide of industrial origin affects the greenhouse effect, which, consequently, increases the temperature of the air and ocean, they would have already submitted them. So far, the opponents of the theory of global warming, as the result of anthropogenic activity have counter-arguments for each claim of its supporters (Goodell).

Alternative Theories of Global Warming

Below are the definitions of the following alternative theories of global warming:

Hypothesis 1

The change in solar activity is the main cause of global warming. It is no secret that the sun is not only a necessary condition for life on our planet, as it provides temperature control. Therefore, if there have been any changes in the intensity of solar radiation, the increase in air temperature and the oceans on Earth must inevitably occur as well.

Hypothesis 2

The changes in the angle of the axis of the Earth's rotation and its orbit cause global warming. It means that the variations in the angle of the axis of the Earth cause changes in the radiation balance. This pattern leads to global warming and it cannot be controlled by human activities.

Hypothesis 3

Global warming is caused by volcanic activity. The changes in the climate are the results of the increase of the sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide that volcano put into the atmosphere.

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Hypothesis 4

Climate change is the result of the complicated interaction among the structural elements of the Earth.

The number of alternative theories is endless. However, there is the theory that states that global warming is caused by a combination of a great variety of factors so that it is impossible to define one, which is the most influential.

Some scientists claim that even if humanity cease emissions of pollutants, the Earth’s climate will continue to get warmer year by year, and by 2100, the ambient temperature will increase by an average of 1 degree Celsius, causing the average increase of the level by 11 centimeters (Fischetti). Such dismal prospects are based on the assumption that shortly people will not reduce emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere, but significantly increase them, as the new industries will be establishing. In addition, the current process of warming is similar to a chain reaction that goes with acceleration. That is why scientists have no illusions to improve the situation, even if there is the termination of environmental destruction by mankind.


Despite the variety of factors that affect our planet, the main cause of global warming is supposed to be human activity. During the climate research, the scientists observed that the growth curve of the temperature on the planet accurately coincided with the curve that showed the increase of carbon dioxide.

The industry and agriculture around the world, which are constantly increasing emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, are supposed to be the unambiguous reasons for the increase of carbon dioxide levels. Indeed, most of the speed of climate changes that are taking place in the recent decades can be explained by the increasing intensification of the human activities that have a significant impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere of the Earth; these activities are the factors that increase the greenhouse gases in its content.

This was supported by the fact that the increase in the average temperature of the lower atmosphere of the Earth at 0,8 °C over the last 100 years. The recent decades added more weight to this argument because during this period the changes in the air temperature reached 0,3-0,4 °C.

The abovementioned means that anthropogenic activity is supposed to be the most hazardous factor for the environment. The law is considered to be the most efficient tool of social regulation in the modern world. The tools of the eco-promotion are less efficient, as our civilization strives to obtain profit from each activity. It means that the only way to affect the current changes in the sea level and climate, stopping global warming, is to use the modernized legal framework.

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Global warming is the gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. The greenhouse effect is supposed to be the main factor that causes global warming. It implies the increase in the temperature of the lower atmosphere of the planet compared to the thermal radiation of the planet, as seen from space. The climate plays a major role in the life of every creature on the planet. It not only affects the livelihoods of individuals, but also the formation, development, and destruction of entire civilizations. The climate influences the health of people and their well-being, as well as productivity and the epidemiological situation, and much more. That is why the climate is paid much attention not only by scientists and politicians but also by ordinary people.

The number of alternative theories of global warming is endless. However, the theory which implies the prime role of the anthropogenic activity is supposed to be the most widespread. However, there is an approach that insists that none of the factors is the most influential. It states that the combination of factors affects the world’s climate changes and not a single one.

The following paper proposes the changes and reconsiderations in international environmental law. The modernization of the world’s ecological legislation system and the creation of the united legal framework that will regulate anthropogenic activities are proposed as the most efficient method to stop the possible disastrous effects of global warming and global flooding.

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