Flooded Cities: NASA Forecast

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The scientists of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration developed the first program that predicts possible submerged regions because of melting glaciers. According to the weather data, almost 50% of all world glaciers have been melting. So, due to the global dimension of glacier melting, some cities are in danger. This program considers such aspects as Earth rotation speed and gravity effects during analyzing data about possible flooded regions.

Flooded cities – nearest perspective

Senior scientist Dr Erik Ivins said: “As cities and countries attempt to build plans to mitigate flooding, they have to be thinking about 100 years in the future and they want to assess risk in the same way that insurance companies do.”

This new virtual tool provides, for each city, a picture of which glaciers, ice sheets and ice caps are of specific importance. For example, in London sea-level rise could be significantly affected by changes in the north-western part of the Greenland ice sheet.

For New York, the territory of concern is the ice sheet’s entire northern and eastern parts.

According to Dr Eric Larour, the lead developer on this project from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there are three key processes influenced the sea-level change around the world.

The first one is gravity. “These ice sheets are huge masses that exert an attraction on the ocean,” said Dr Larour. “When the ice shrinks, that attraction diminishes- and the sea will move away from that mass.”

Besides, the ice pressure on the land’s surface in the glacial regions leads to the decrease of land’s level. It was the second key process.

The third aspect includes rotation of the planet itself.

“You can think of the Earth as a spinning top. As it spins it wobbles and as masses on its surface change, that wobble also changes. That, in turn, redistributes water around the Earth”, – said Dr Larour.

Developed the model of all these factors’ influence, the researchers developed a virtual map, which predicts the scale of the flood in the concrete cities.

“We can compute the exact sensitivity – for a specific town – of a sea level to every ice mass in the world. This gives you an idea, for your own city, of which glaciers, ice sheets and ice caps are of specific importance, “ – Dr Larour says.

According to another member of the scientific team, Dr Surendra Adhikari, with help of this virtual tool people can be desperate to understand how these huge, complicated global processes impact on them during a long time.




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