Over the past forty years or so (1961-2003), global sea levels have risen an average of .07″ per year. Global warming is largely the culprit here, but scientist have struggled to truly make that hypothesis work. You see, when you account for global warming’s effects on the oceans (slightly lower density at higher temperatures, and melting ice), the numbers don’t add up…that only accounts for about .04″ of the .07″ per year rise. Where’s the rest coming from? Scientists in Tokyo believe the answer is all around us. Or rather, it IS us…the extra water in the oceans is due to extraction of water from underground aquifers over the past many decades, which is not being replenished at the same rate.
So why does this matter? Look, the aquifer levels are decreasing (in many areas at least). Forget the ocean for a minute, our lifestyles are not sustainable like this and it’s immoral to pass this problem on to future generations, not when we see it happening around us and have the technology to fix it.
Based on current sea ice melting trends, sea levels are expected to rise 3-5 FEET by 2100. Living a sustainable lifestyle with water usage can help with that, though we really need to be addressing global warming as well.