Email Print Share

"Early Risers" -- The Discovery Files

The Discovery Files
Audio Play Audio
The Discovery Files podcast is available through iTunes or you can add the RSS feed to your podcast receiver. You can also access the series via AudioNow® by calling 641-552-8180 on any telephone.

Scientists at NCAR find that reductions in four pollutants that cycle comparatively quickly through the atmosphere could temporarily forestall the rate of sea level rise by roughly 25 to 50 percent.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

All this and CO2

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

(Sound effect: ocean surf) (Sound effect: underwater sounds) In recent years coastal cities have experienced a little extra water in their waterfronts--a rise in ocean depth of 1/10th of an inch. Doesn't sound like much, 'til you realize that due to warming oceans, and melting glaciers and ice sheets, by the end of this century sea level is projected to rise as much as six feet, presenting a serious threat to coastal communities, (Sound effect: storm, wind) made even more ominous during storm surges. But scientists say there may be a way to slow that rise--if we move quickly.

Carbon dioxide is still the most important factor in sea level rise over the long term. Now a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research projects the effects of reducing other emissions.

The team focused on four heat-trapping atmospheric pollutants: Methane, tropospheric ozone, hydroflourocarbons and black carbon. They say technologies to drastically cut these emissions are already available and that cutting them sufficiently over the next several decades could dramatically slow rising sea levels, even if we can't immediately cut carbon dioxide emissions.

A comprehensive approach that stabilizes CO2 and reduces certain other pollutants, could lower the rate of global warming and reduce sea level rise at least 30% by the end of this century (Sound effect: ocean sounds)--if we rise to the occasion.

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at or on our podcast.

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

MP3 icon
NSF podcasts are in mp3 format for easy download to desktop and laptops, as well as mobile devices capable of playing them.