1995-07-28 Rheydt, Germany / Waterworld / Wasserwelt / Mundo de Agua / Mundo Acuático

The polar ice caps have completely melted, and the sea level has risen over 7,600m, covering nearly all of the land.

The remains of Human civilization live on ramshackle floating communities known as atolls, having long forgotten about living on land.

People believe that there should be a mythological ‘Dryland’ somewhere in the endless ocean. The plot of the film Waterworld centers on an nameless antihero, ‘The Mariner’, a drifter who sails the Earth in his trimaran.

Sea level rise is caused by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms.

With continued ocean and atmospheric warming, sea levels will likely rise for many centuries at rates higher than that of the current century.

In urban settings, rising sea levels threaten infrastructure necessary for local jobs and regional industries.

Roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, oil and gas wells, power plants, sewage treatment plants, landfills – virtually all human infrastructure – is at risk from sea level rise.

Since the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago, sea level has risen by more than 125m as a result of melting of major ice sheets.

During deglaciation between about 19,000 and 8,000 years ago, sea level rose at extremely high rates as the result of the rapid melting.

3,000 years ago to present, sea level was nearly stable prior to an acceleration of rate of rise that is variously dated between 1850 and 1900.

Since 1880, the ocean began to rise briskly, climbing a total of 210mm through 2009 causing extensive erosion worldwide and costing billions. Sea level rose by 6 cm during the 19th century and 19 cm in the 20th century.

Deltas and small island states are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise caused by both thermal expansion and increased ocean water.

Maldives, Tuvalu, and other low lying countries are among the areas that are at the highest level of risk.

The UN’s environmental panel has warned that, at current rates, sea level would be high enough to make the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100.

Many media reports have focused on the island nations of the Pacific, notably the Polynesian islands of Tuvalu, which based on more severe flooding events in recent years, were thought to be sinking due to sea level rise.

There is a widespread consensus that substantial long term sea level rise will continue for centuries to come even if the temperature stabilizes.

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