Mangalore in Karnataka is at a higher risk of flooding from rising sea levels because of melting glaciers than coastal cities such as Mumbai and New York, data released by NASA shows. The tool looks at the Earth’s spin and gravitational effects to predict how water will be “redistributed” globally. This provides, for each city, a picture of which glaciers, ice sheets, and ice caps are of specific importance. Over the next 100 years, glacial melt could push up Mangalore sea levels by 15.98cm compared to 15.26cm for Mumbai and 10.65cm for New York, says the study carried in the journal Science Advances. Mumbai and New York are traditionally believed to be the most vulnerable.The findings are based on a forecasting tool, gradient fingerprint mapping (GFM), developed by the scientists at the US space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It allows planners to see exactly how melting glaciers can push up sea levels for 293 major port cities, including three from India – Mangalore, Mumbai in Maharashtra and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. GFM will show how sensitive local sea-level rise is to glacial melt, allowing scientists and planners to identify the ice sheets that pose bigger risk. An ice sheet is a continental glacier that covers a large area.Almost 75% of the world’s freshwater is stored in glaciers, mostly in Greenland and Antarctica. Melting of ice sheets on both is a major contributor to sea level rise. The tool measures how sensitive local sea level rise is to the change in thickness of the ice sheet, that captures how much ice the sheet has lost.
For Mangalore, the sensitivity is high to changes in ice thickness in almost all regions of the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheet. However, it is more sensitive to changes in the western part of the Antarctic ice sheet and the southern part of the Greenland ice sheet.
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