While NASA is majorly involved in investigating other planets, it also takes time to monitor issues affecting our own world. This includes the risks that melting glaciers have on the flooding of coastal cities.
With the new Gradient Fingerprint Mapping (GFM) technology developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, researchers will be able to monitor different glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica and determine their particular “fingerprint” on the rising sea level. This way, NASA will be able to predict which glacier is likely to cause flooding in what major city.
Information about the project was published last week in the journal Science Advances.
The Risk of Flooding Depends on the Region as Well
NASA has already applied this technology to 293 different port cities around the world. For example, they have determined that both London and New York City are threatened by melting in the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). However, the GFM points out that the former’s concern is with changes in the western region, while the latter should be wary of problems in the north.
Still, the results can be surprising. For example, Sydney will be most affected by melting in the Amundsen Sea Sector, which is on the opposite side of Antarctica from Australia. At the same time, it will likely be safe from melting in closer regions. This is because the sea level around melting ice actually decreases, due to the ice no longer exerting gravity as much.
“If you are close enough, then the effect of ice loss will be a sea level drop, not sea level rise,” said Surendra Adhikari, one of the researchers on the project, who works alongside Erik Ivins and Eric Larour.
The latter explained their hopes that this new information will be able to teach us more about the effects of climate change on the rising sea levels. They are also hoping that this system will help cities devise the best measures to offset the threats of flooding that they might supposedly face.
Image Source: Pixabay