A new study by the Dutch Deltares Research Institute shows the Earth is actually gaining more land than it’s losing, disputing claims that #Climate Change is causing increased sea level rise. The study showed our planet actually gained 107,000 square miles over the past three decades, including 21,000 square miles of coastline. That means continents are gaining in size, not shrinking.
Conversely, the study showed the Earth had only lost 71,000 square miles of land during this same time period, including 12,500 square miles of shoreline. Some scientists have held that in a warming world, the coastlines would be the first casualties as melting ice sheets poured excess water into the oceans. Even President-Elect #Obama said in 2008 that his winning the election meant the rise of the oceans would now begin to slow. Turns out the oceans didn’t need his help after all.
The study’s researchers, led by Gennadii Donchyts, used a tool called the Deltares Aqua Monitor to formulate its conclusions, which were published in Nature Climate Change. The researchers had anticipated the coastlines were already receding only to discover they were gaining in size across the planet. One study author told BBC News they were surprised to find more land than the seas were taking.
Since leaving the last glaciation roughly 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, sea level rise has fluctuated up and down but has remained steady at about 2-3 mm per year. In some areas where thermal expansion is a major influence, it can be as high as 7 mm per year. But the overall average has remained relatively constant for the past 10,000 years.
Inconvenient truths abound
Indeed, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth showed land masses being swallowed up by rising sea levels. He predicted in 2006 it would be happening by now as a result of climate change. Since that time, his prediction—plus many others—has not come true. One reason is that Antarctica is actually gaining in size due to increased snow and ice. Since satellite measurements began in the early ’80s, Antarctica has grown roughly 33 percent, baffling scientists studying the continent. Some have blamed the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption for the slowdown in rising seas.