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

The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says

Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.

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Hurricanes are not to blame for most big storm surges in Northeast

Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists. Extratropical cyclones , including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast.

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New Study Finds Sea Level Rise Accelerating

Global sea level rise is accelerating incrementally over time rather than increasing at a steady rate, as previously thought, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data.

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Satellite observations show sea levels rising, and climate change is accelerating it

Sea level rise is happening now, and the rate at which it is rising is increasing every year, according to a study released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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New Trump Administration Flood Standards Mirror Obama-Era Rules

Six months after President Trump revoked an Obama-era rule mandating that federally funded projects account for future sea level rise and flooding, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that recipients of $7.4 billion in disaster recovery grants must do just that — seemingly representing a reversal of the administration’s stance on climate preparedness.

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Climate change threatens half of US bases worldwide, Pentagon report finds

Nearly half of US military sites are threatened by wild weather linked to climate change, according to a new Pentagon study whose findings run contrary to White House views on global warming.

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On the Chesapeake, A Precarious Future of Rising Seas and High Tides; Video

Maryland’s Dorchester County is ground zero for climate change on Chesapeake Bay, as rising seas claim more and more land. An e360 video explores the quiet beauty of this liquid landscape and how high tides and erosion are putting the bay’s rural communities at risk.

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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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Recent / Sea Level Rise

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

December 13th, 2017

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?

December 7th, 2017

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

November 29th, 2017

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

November 27th, 2017

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?

November 19th, 2017

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

November 17th, 2017

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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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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