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Scientists say rising sea levels could impact Eastern North Carolina

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:37 PM EDT
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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) - Data surrounding climate changes continues to come to light, and many are painting a bleak outlook for our world if action isn’t taken soon.

As more evidence points to the warming climate, scientists say it could cause a chain reaction of events including impacting our sea levels.

Here in Eastern North Carolina, the rising water levels could spell a disaster for our coast.

Associate UNC Professor Dr. Miyuki Hino explained that confidence continues to grow that climate change is happening and that it will have devastating impacts on how high the water levels will get.

“Over time we have become more and more confident in our understanding in how sea levels are going to change as the climate warms,” Dr. Hino said.

Dr. Hino says the problem isn’t just that sea levels are going up, “We’ve already seen quite a bit of sea level rise just in the last couple of decades we know that sea level is actually accelerating so it’s not just going up but it’s going up faster and faster.”

Dr. Rick Luettich at UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences explained how the climate warming affects sea levels and the impact it has on water. “As the temperature rise is increasing the temperature of the ocean and water expands as it gets warmer so that’s one reason the sea level is rising, it also melts ice.”

Right now predictions show we could see up to a nearly 5 degree Fahrenheit rise in our global climate and if that doesn’t sound like a lot, Dr. Hino explained how that change will have a massive impact and how it’s already impacting us.

“It doesn’t sound like a big deal especially as we get into the colder days you think oh 5 degrees warmer that wouldn’t be that bad but we’re starting to see a preview of the climate changed world we’re going to live in, if you look just at the U.S over the past summer we saw heat waves, devastating wildfires, we’ve seen floods in coastal storms that are totally unprecedented,” said Dr. Hino.

But scientists agree there is still time to slow down and stop the effects of climate change, one of the major ways is by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and by building up healthier waterways and creating natural areas for floodwaters to go.

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