Factors that Affect Sea Level and the Location of a Coast

Factors that Affect Sea Level and the Location of a Coast

There are numerous factors that affect sea level and the location of a coast. Sea level can be defined as the average height of all oceans on earth. It is used as the measure of the heights in similar elevations. Mean sea level refers to the geodetic reference point where a sea rests at a time when tides, atmospheric effects, water density variations and tides are not present. If the oceans did not move, there would be no tides or wind. As such, the sea surface would not change. Similarly, the location of a coast is affected by several factors including rising of the sea level.

Major factors that affect sea level and the location of a coast

  • Rising sea level

The rising levels of the sea lead to coastal erosion and loss of the coastal land. This affects the location of a coast because high tide line tends to move further up to the shore. This can cause coastal squeeze. Along the natural coastline, habitats may be lost because of seaward edge that is caused by a rise in the sea level or erosion. New habitats are also formed up on the landward edge. Nevertheless, the existence of hard defenses along the coast including sea walls can prevent the continuation of this process and cause a restriction of intertidal habitat to the land area that is always decreasing between the sea and coastal defense. In places with coastal defenses, a rise in the sea levels can overtop the defenses causing an increase in flooding.

  • Tide and wind driven changes

Sea levels keep fluctuating due to tide and wind driven changes. It is important that the mean seal level be calculated at certain locations over the years. Sea levels are affected by several factors and the geographical time scales of these factors can vary. Careful measures of the differences in mean sea levels provide information about climate change. This information is interpreted as the evidence that supports the idea that the current rise in sea level indicates global warming. Changes in sea level that are caused by tidal and wind driven changes are called eustatic changes. From the beginning of the 20th century, changes in sea level have been noted globally with a 2.0 millimeters on average every year. This rise in sea level is expected to rise by 2100.

  • Global warming

Many experts agree that sea level is affected by external factors that are also responsible for global warming. Basically, sea level as well as coast location is affected by three key factors. These are the non-polar glaciers melting, expansion of Thermal Ocean and changes in the volume of ice caps in Antarctica and Green land. Sea level increases gradually with the climate getting warmer. This is because glaciers that melt occupy larger volumes. Mountains and non-glaciers also melt more due to global warming and this adds to the volume of the oceans.

How to deal with factors that affect sea level and the location of a coast

The sea level rise affects the location of a coast and it is mainly due to melting of ice and ocean warming. As such, to address factors that are affecting sea level and location of a coast, it is important to deal with factors that cause a rise in the sea level. These are the factors that cause global warming such as human land use and combustion of fossil fuels. This implies that addressing factors that cause a rise in the sea level is a collective responsibility. People need to be informed about global warming and its effects on the sea level and coastal zones.

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