The BBVA Foundation rewards scientists who have measured the rise in sea level from space | Society

The BBVA Foundation rewards scientists who have measured the rise in sea level from space | Society

The BBVA Foundation has awarded researchers Anny Cazenave, John Alexander Church and Jonathan Gregory on Wednesday morning for pioneering the integration of satellite observations from space with measurements on-site and for having developed mathematical models to accurately describe the global change in sea level. This, as the scientists have warned, "can not be avoided, but it can be controlled". In addition, they have specified that the increase is 3 millimeters per year, and that "it does not occur uniformly."

The models, which predict with data collected during the last 25 years the evolution of the sea until the year 2100, show that the level of the sea can grow from a quarter of a meter to more than one at the end of the century, according to Cazenave. And all because of "the thermal expansion of the oceans and glaciers, a consequence of the emission of greenhouse gases; one of the main causes of climate change, has ensured thatThe Australian professor at the Climate Change Research Center of the University of New South Wales, John Alexander Church.

The three winners have participated in an important way in the direction of the chapter relative to sea level of the report of the intergovernmental group of experts on climate change (IPCC for its acronym in English). Cazenave, a French scientist from the Laboratory of Studies in Space Geophysics and Oceanography in the neighboring country, said that "the rate of increase in sea level is due to human activity." This, he continued, is one of the most tremendous consequences of global warming since 25% of the population lives in coastal areas. Therefore, "society must be given information about this problem and what is the future trend, it is a tremendous challenge," he warned. Cazenve herself believes that the data is "the best answer to the skeptics of this phenomenon".

Church, who was in China at the time when the prize has failed, has commented that there are three options to face this impact. "Abandoning part of the coastal area, which is already being done in some parts, adapting urbanism through floodplain parks where critical infrastructures can not be placed, and protecting cities with engineering works." Church has cited the London cases, where a barrier has been installed in the Thames to control flooding of the river.

The third of those recognized with this award, the most important in terms of research on climate change in the world, as announced by Carlos Duarte, head of the Saudi chair Tarek Ahmed Juffali in Ecology of the Red Sea at King Abdalá University, has commented that it is a society's choice the way in which the effects of climate change are faced. And that "in the long term, beyond the 21st century, there will be many meters of difference between the level of the sea at present and the future".

20,000 years ago, little time on a geological scale, the sea level was 120 meters lower than the current one, and in the last 5,000 it has risen two meters. Reason why experts recognize that "not all the changes that have happened in the twentieth century have been anthropomorphic." The winners have thanked the work of the American and European space agencies, which has allowed them to observe the ocean from space and measure with incredible accuracy the rise of the sea. It is a challenge to measure such a small signal from space. "Thanks to this technology and the measures insitu in the oceans, we have robust and consistent data that allows us to transfer to society the impact of the research we have developed over more than three decades ", he said. Cazenave.


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