The oceans are on average about 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) higher now than in 1930, when they started a noticeable upward climb. Melting glaciers and ice caps, along with ocean warming—water expands as it heats up—are the main culprits behind the increase.(Via Pruned - and check out the Pruned piece and Alex Trevi's selection of photos from Desire Paths).
But the new study shows that reservoirs are also an important factor. Rather than adding to sea-level rise, however, they have counteracted it by storing more water on land.
Since 1930 the storage of water has prevented a total of about 1.2 inches (3 centimeters) of sea-level rise.
Without dams, sea levels would have risen 30 percent more than they already have, according to research led by Benjamin Chao of National Central University in Taiwan.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008