Nasa tool predicts which cities will flood due to melting ice

Nasa tool predicts which cities will flood due to melting ice

Nasa has developed a new forecasting tool that can predict which cities will be affected as different portions of ice sheets melt due to global warming.

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," researchers said.

"As cities and countries attempt to build plans to mitigate flooding, they have to be thinking about 100 years in the future and they want to assess risk in the same way that insurance companies do," said Erik Ivins, senior scientist at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US.

Three key processes influenced "the sea-level fingerprint," the pattern of sea-level change around the world, according to the study published in the journal Science Advances.

These include gravity, "push-pull influence" of ice, and the rotation of the planet itself.

"We can compute the exact sensitivity - for a specific town - of a sea level to every ice mass in the world," said Eric Larour.

The tool provided a way for governments to work out which ice sheets they should be most worried about.

It suggests that in London sea-level rise could be significantly affected by changes in the north-western part of the Greenland ice sheet.

For New York, the area of concern is the ice sheet's entire northern and eastern portions, researchers said.  

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