The oceans are rising at an accelerating rate primarily because of climate change. As the planet heats up, seawater responds by expanding. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are making a larger contribution to sea-level rise. Texas’ Gulf Coast is especially susceptible because the land is sinking, compounding the problem of rising oceans. Just how much sea rise depends on how much more greenhouse gas we pump into the atmosphere. But even if we never put another carbon molecule into the atmosphere, seas will rise for decades because of past emissions. By the end of the century, half of Galveston could be underwater, according to even conservative estimates. Texas has done almost nothing to prepare for what’s coming.
Source: climatecentral.org; Union of Concerned Scientists; University of Arizona
Illustration by: Joanna Wojtkowiak