Human Interaction: Anthropogenic Climate Change and Tsunamis Part 1

In the last few years, more and more evidence has shown that climate change has been affecting the strength and the frequency of tsunamis such as this one. Anthropogenic climate change has caused glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise, two significant effects that are influencing tsunamis. Bill McGuire, a professor at University College London states that “when the ice is lost, the earth’s crust bounces back up again and that triggers earthquakes, which trigger submarine landslides, which causes tsunamis” 1 Furthermore, the reduction in weight on the crust allows faults to slide more easily which increases the frequency and strength of these earthquakes. 2 Rising seas changes the balance of mass of earth’s surface, which strains old earthquake faults again increasing the frequency of earthquakes. Many scientists doubt that the 2011 Japanese earthquake was caused by our anthropogenic climate change, but acknowledge the fact that many of the other earthquakes over the last decade could have been due to global warming. In the future, there is the possibility that a new type of earthquake called “glacial earthquake” will occur when glacial ice crash to Earth in massive landslides. 3

  1. Mims, Christopher. “Does Climate Change Mean More Tsunamis?” Grist. Last modified March 2011.Accessed December 15, 2014. http://grist.org/climate-change/ 2011-03-11-todays-tsunami-this-is-what-climate-change-looks-like/.
  2. McGuire, Bill. Waking the Giant: How a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. N.p.: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  3.  Mims, “Does Climate Change Mean,” Grist.

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