It’s really about how heat creates energy. The planet’s seas are warming, which means that water molecules are bouncing around and expanding, increasing the volume of water. And water has a tremendous capacity to retain heat, absorbing more than 90 percent of the warming atmosphere.
Scientists say that even if every nation stopped emitting carbon today, the oceans’ residual heat would continue to cause sea-level rise.
More critically, all the warm water is contributing to the alarming acceleration of polar ice melt. Both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice sheets and glaciers, and the trillions of tons of ice a year are adding to the volume of water.