Sea Level Rise

Accelerated erosion

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There will always be beaches, but sea level rise will ensure that they will not be in the same place in the future. The beaches will still exist throughout this change, but many of the buildings may not. Efforts to save development, however do threaten beaches, such as shoreline armoring structures.

Although relative amounts of rise may seem very small, only a few millimeters per year, the cumulative effect of these small rises each year over a long period of time (100+ years) causes major problems. Accelerated rates of erosion are attributed to sea level rise and erosion causes large economic losses around the world each year due to the close proximity of buildings and critical infrastructure. This includes transportation systems, gas and oil lines as well as electricity lines and power plants.

Most developed coasts and beaches have buildings very close to the ocean leaving little room for the ever-expanding ocean. The future effects of sea level rise on coastal civilization over the entire world are of great concern. Over half of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the coast. Over the next 50 years, damage due to coastal development will be devastating, but if the rate of sea level rise increases, the results could be catastrophic. This issue threatens areas from New York City in the United States to the Pearl River Delta in China to the Maldives.

The world map below allows you to see elevations of coastal areas. Areas in red are the lowest in elevation and are most prone to flooding. Check out Manhattan in New York City. If you think the situation there looks dire, be sure to check out the effects of a 2 m rise in sea level on Pearl River Delta in China, home to more than 40 million people. Map courtesy of

Surfing in / Sea Level Rise

As Sea Levels Rise, is the Ocean Floor Sinking?

A team of researchers from Delft University and the University of Tasmania used estimates of mass redistribution concluded that past estimates of sea level rise are too conservative and that to increase their accuracy, the effect of ocean bottom deformation should be taken into account, either based on modeled estimates of ocean mass change, or using more direct observations.

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Nowhere to Hide from Climate Change

The water is nibbling away the beaches of Fiji. Not even the dead are allowed peace of mind. The graveyard of Togoru – a village on the largest island of Fiji – has been submerged.

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An American beach story: when property rights clash with the rising sea

Rising sea levels driven by climate change are forcing communities like Humarock to confront a troubling future. The global water line has risen by about 8 inches on average since 1900, and it’s expected to rise about that much or more by 2050.

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‘King tides’ are rising, so groups span globe to monitor it

From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest ‘king tides,’ brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become the norm, with expected sea-level rise.

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Rising waters: can a massive barrier save Venice from drowning?

A retractable barrier designed to protect Venice from sea level rise and storm surges is set to be operational next year. But the project’s engineering limitations and cost overruns are raising questions about the mega-projects that many coastal cities are hoping can save them.

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Buried in marshes’: sea-level rise could destroy historic sites on US east coast

Large tracts of America’s east coast heritage are at risk from being wiped out by sea level rise, with the rising oceans set to threaten more than 13,000 archaeological and historic sites, according to new research.

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First inland South Carolina tract purchased in Cape Romain effort to save habitat as seas rise

The vast island seascape of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge just gained a first tiny foothold on what could be its future.

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Sea levels are already rising. What’s next?

Climate change is battering coasts with storms and floods, but we still haven’t grappled with the risks of what’s to come.

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Coastal Commission Rejects Bid to Cancel Broad Beach Sand Replacement Permit

One of the line-items on the November 2017 California Coastal Commission agenda was a one-year extension of the beleaguered Broad Beach Replenishment Project. Following years of delays with issues ranging from sand sourcing to legal battles of all shapes and sizes, the project has been slow to get off the ground, and proponents of alternatives such as artificial reefs are hoping to succeed.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

On N.H.’s Coast, Preparing for Future Storms with Grass, Sand and a Bit of Time

November 9th, 2017

As New Hampshire’s coastline prepares for a world with rising seas and stronger storms, communities and homeowners have different options, none of them simple. But some scientists in New Hampshire are pitching a more natural approach. All it takes is a little grass and some time.

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South Carolina not doing enough to protect beaches, report says

November 8th, 2017

South Carolina’s beach preparations are barely adequate to deal with worsening erosion, sea rise and intensifying storms, according to the latest Surfriders Foundation report.

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Study: NC gets ‘D’ for climate change policies

November 8th, 2017

Days after a federal report issued a harsh warning about climate change, an environmental group said North Carolina’s policies leave the state among the most ill-prepared on the East Coast to deal with the effects of rising seas.

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While a new island grew, southern Hatteras was shrinking, NC

November 3rd, 2017

Whatever forces crafted the new, crescent-shaped island at Cape Point is steadily gulping down the south end of Hatteras Island, spitting aside trees, power poles and a popular route for off-road vehicles.

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Intensifying winds could increase east Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise

November 3rd, 2017

A new study led by the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics has found that wind over the ocean off the coast of East Antarctica causes warm, deep waters to upwell, circulate under Totten Glacier, the largest glacier in East Antarctica, and melt the fringes of the East Antarctic ice sheet from below.

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Ancient storms could have hurled huge boulders, scientists say – raising new concerns of rising seas

November 2nd, 2017

An international team of researchers has come up with a new theory to explain how two giant boulders could have made their way atop a cliff on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. They suspect it has something to do with the Atlantic Ocean far below them.

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Malibu, CA: Broad Beach Sand Project Costs Jump to $55-60 Million Per Decade

October 31st, 2017

The Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Abatement District (GHAD) is now contending with another set of lawsuits over a project originally estimated to cost about $20 million, which is now estimated to cost $55 to $60 million every 10 years. The project will involve bringing in megatons of sand every few years to restore the disappearing beach and dunes.

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How cities are defending themselves against sea level rise

October 30th, 2017

Superstorm Sandy and a series of lesser coastal storms since that 2012 disaster compelled some coastal communities to defend themselves by elevating homes and critical infrastructure, building sand dunes, widening beaches and erecting or raising sea walls. But as sea levels continue to rise around the world, that’s not an option in large cities.

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In the Trump era, rising seas still a concern for Defense Department

October 30th, 2017

Climate scientists in the federal government have been on the defensive since President Donald Trump took office in January. But military leaders will continue to address the risks that climate change poses to bases and national security, a senior Pentagon official said at conference Friday on sea level rise.

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The Quick Demise of B-44

October 28th, 2017

Scientists have long been tracking the retreat of Pine Island Glacier, one of the main outlets where ice from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet flows into the ocean. Attention recently turned once again to the glacier when it calved a large new iceberg, named B-44. Just weeks later, the berg has broken apart.

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