Poor Coastal Development
Developed coasts change natural beach processes. Even a single building alters natural movement of wind which can disrupt sand transport, movement of rainwater runoff, and negatively impact plants and animals. Aesthetically, development reduces the quality of visits by tourists and once development begins, more follows. The long history of beach development in Europe and the northeastern United States has resulted in heavy modification of, and in some cases total destruction of, natural beaches.
Development on coasts is in grave danger in the coming decades from the combination of sea level rise and storms. When coastal development is built too close to the shore, the results can be devastating as evidenced by recent hurricanes Ike and Katrina in the United States. Two simple concepts must be followed:
- Do not build a house that will be underwater in the next 50 years and
- Do not build a house that will be knocked down by a storm.
These two basic principles are seldom followed today and when they are not, the costs can be human lives and billions of dollars.
After a large storm strikes, rebuilding is often financed with public money. Once a coastal community has been developed, rebuilding efforts often focus on putting things back the way they were rather than making objective decisions about changes that need to be made based on the rising sea. Developed coastlines need to retreat from the coast to allow the beach to move. Coastlines are dynamic, but buildings are not. More information on this topic can be found at the website of The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA.
Map of North and South America shows increasing populations in coastal areas, which will expose 2.75 billion people worldwide to the effects of sea level rise and other coastal threats posed by global warming.
Surfing in / Poor Coastal Development
Like many other cities, Norfolk was built on filled-in marsh.
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The story was strange enough to be a child’s fable: In an isolated section of the Chesapeake Bay, there was a two-story Victorian house that seemed to emerge directly from the water. And, scurrying around it, there was a retiree, trying to keep the house from falling in.
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New York State and California are creating blueprints for how governments should plan, and pay for, a wholesale retreat from the shoreline in anticipation of a possible rise in sea level of three or four feet or more by 2100.
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100 major coastal developments were proposed for the Queensland coast, with potentially devastating impacts.
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The coastal city of Port of Spain, was built on mud flats and reclaimed lands from the sea. At high tide, with virtually a drizzle, the city is prone to major flooding.
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The ocean is advancing menacingly towards populated areas, surge that caused severe erosion, which occurred as a result of shipwrecks and uncontrolled development of the coastlines, involving poorly done sand filling.
In an interview with Yale Environment, MIT meteorologist discusses current thinking on how higher sea surface temperatures are likely to lead to stronger hurricanes, thus believing subsidies and bailouts encouraging people to live in vulnerable, low-lying coastal zones are folly.
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Coastal residents fear their idyllic seaside town may never be restored to its former glory after the besieged coastline just copped further battering.
Several beaches on the western end of Jamaica could be totally wiped out in the next 5 to 10 years if local authorities and residents do not act now.
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