High seas are just a taste for coastal dwellers

Some 50 residents of Caldera on the Pacific coast got a preview of what is to come Friday morning as high seas invaded their homes.

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas spent much of the day getting residents and their goods to higher ground. The high seas had been predicted by experts at the Universidad de Costa Rica because of far away Pacific storms, but the warning went mostly unheeded.

Another message that is generally going unheeded is that of the rising sea levels in general. Rising seas appear to be inevitable, according to scientists who note that the seas already have risen some 125 meters or more than 400 feet since the latest Ice Age.

The concern has been that the mean sea level might rise as much as a meter, about 39 inches, by the end of this century. But new research reported Monday shows that this may be too conservative an estimate.

Projected changes in the winds circling the Antarctic may accelerate global sea level rise significantly more than previously estimated.

A report from the Australian Research Council said that changes to Antarctic winds have already been linked to southern Australia’s drying climate, but now it appears they may also have a profound impact on warming ocean temperatures under the ice shelves along the coastline of West and East Antarctic.

Paul Spence from the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science said that the water under the ice shelves may become up to  4 degrees C. warmer than now.

“It could lead to a massive increase in the rate of ice sheet melt, with direct consequences for global sea level rise,” he said.

Similar studies involved in the Greenland ice sheet show that ocean currents and winds have not been included fully in some projections.

Caldera homes are hafl covered with water at the peak of high tide Friday morning.

Caldera homes are hafl covered with water at the peak of high tide Friday morning.

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