New Land Rises as Glaciers Melt

Alaska is losing some of its beaches to rising sea levels. (Photo: Joseph [CC BY SA-2.0]/Flickr)

The area around Juneau, Alaska, is experiencing a unique side effect of global warming- the sea is retreating from large areas of coastline.

Melting glaciers served as a giant paperweight on the spongy ground, as those glaciers melt, the pressure they exerted down is relieved and the land rises back up like a mattress after someone gets out of bed.

On the surface, this sounds like a good thing -- new land is created and the rising seas are pushed back, sometimes miles across the newly minted acres. But with the new land brings new problems: water flows are disrupted and swamps and wetlands are drying out. Rivers and waterways are being filled with silt from the increased meltwater, disrupting fish runs and shipping routes.

Some scientists predict the rise in land could be as much as three feet a year by 2100.

Global warming is here; it's real, and as we're sure to see more and more, is happening in some places in very quick order indeed.