By, Rebecca G.
What is Thermal Expansion?
  • Thermal expansion is the tendency for matter to increase in volume or pressure when heated
  • the scientific equation for thermal expansion is:
  • external image fce6f737a9da4fbaf768339fff9e2d41.pnga good way to represent thermal expansion is through a thermometer
  • when the thermometer is heated, the liquid inside is heated as well, increases in volume and expands upward
    external image thermometer.jpg








Thermal Expansion and Climate Change
  • it is well known that with climate change, global temperatures will increase
  • water expands when heated due to thermal expansion
  • therefore, as the Earth is heated, due to a combination of thermal expansion and the melting of glaciers, sea levels will rise

Problems from Thermal Expansion and Rising Sea Levels
  • the rising sea levels will cause many other problems to form
  • loss of coastal wetlands and barrier islands will occur
  • there will be a greater risk of flooding in coastal communities.
  • the present day coastlines of Florida, for example, will be flooded with water


(This first graph shows the effects of thermal expansion on the Florida coastline. In red is the land the will eventually be underwater due to rising of the sea level by 6 meters. The second graph shows the effects of thermal expansion on the entire world. The red border around all of the continents is the land that will be underwater with a 6 meter increase of the sea level. Even though it doesn't look like there is much land in red on the second graph, it is a lot of land when you consider the many cities filled with many people that would be underwater with this 6 meter increase.)
external image SealevelFlorida6m.gif external image SeaLevelRise6m.gif
external image daln194l.jpg
Related Links:

http://sedac.ciesin.org/mva/WR1987/WR1987.html
http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/fcons.asp