We've known for years that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is a main contributor to climate change that threatens to raise the earth's sea level to a potentially dangerous point, but a new study shows that focusing on eliminating other pollutants could help slow sea level rise as well. Researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have discovered that cutting emissions of four pollutants that can cycle quickly through the atmosphere could slow the yearly rate of sea level increase between 25 and 50 percent.
While scientists have focused on cutting carbon dioxide emissions for years, the team behind this study feels that stablizing CO2 and cutting back on these other pollutants could be a big help. "It is still not too late, by stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and reducing emissions of shorter-lived pollutants, to lower the rate of warming and reduce sea level rise by 30 percent," says Veerabhadran Ramanathan of Scripps, a leader of the new study. "The large role of the shorter-lived pollutants is encouraging since technologies are available to drastically cut their emissions."