Upward Spiral

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A new study published  in Nature by Harvard University researchers corrects a few measurements when it comes to changes in the sea level over the past century.

On the one hand, researchers wanted to gain a more accurate picture of how quickly sea levels are actually rising in an era of global warming.

Blue Garden, 200 meters beneath the ocean surface. The top of the sphere could be elevated above the surface for sunlight and fresh air, and retracted during storms. Image: Shimizu Corporation

Blue Garden, 200 meters beneath the ocean surface. The top of the sphere could be elevated above the surface for sunlight and fresh air, and retracted during storms.
Image: Shimizu Corporation

On the other hand, they re-examined assumptions on the speed of sea level change over the past century by re-assessing data and ‘fingerprints’ used to measure the change in sea levels between 1900-1990.

Current predictive models for how quickly glacial melting will impact coastlines are based on analyses of past sea levels showing a gradual rise over many decades.

What the research team under Carling Hay and Eric Morrow found upon re-examining data gathered over the course of the 20th century was that sea levels had risen much less than previously thought, in some cases up to 30% less, by 1990.

Which means that the current rising levels didn’t happen slowly over the course of a long century – they have occurred much more quickly over the past twenty years due to a wide variety of factors.

This may require some adjustments to coastal planning.

Good thing Japan’s Shimizu Corporation just released these drafts for an underwater town, poetically dubbed ‘Blue Garden‘.

Blue Garden, interior view. The sphere would contain homes, stores, offices, a hotel and research facilities. Image: Shimizu Corporation

Blue Garden, interior view. The sphere would contain homes, stores, offices, a hotel and research facilities.
Image: Shimizu Corporation

The proposed city would be sustainable and energy self-sufficient using thermal power generated by temperature differences between the water surface and ocean depths, as well as from methane-producing micro-organism factories.

The Corporation says it could produce the spherical abodes, which would be attached to the ocean floor and could accommodate up to 5000 people, by 2030.

The Blue Garden spheres could be connected into networks of spheres to create cities. Image: Shimizu Corporation

The Blue Garden spheres could be connected into networks of spheres to create cities.
Image: Shimizu Corporation

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