So much extra water is being added into the world’s oceans from melting glaciers that the ocean floor is sinking underneath its increasing weight. This ocean floor deformation also means we have miscalculated just how much ocean levels are rising and the problem could be far worse than previously believed.
Over the past 20 years, ocean basins have sunk an average of 0.004 inches per year. This means that the ocean is 0.08 inches deeper than it was two decades ago. While this small fragment of an inch may not seem much, oceans cover 70 percent of our planet, making the problem bigger than it seems at an initial glance.
In a study published online in Geophysical Research Levels, researchers explain how they used a mathematical equation known as the elastic sea level equation to more accurately measure the ocean floor. This allowed them to see how much the bottom of the ocean floor has changed from 1993 to 2014. While they are not the first scientists to look at the ocean floor, this is the first time that researchers have taken into account how additional water from melted ice may have further stretched the ocean floor, LiveSciencereported.