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

Rising seas threaten nearly $1 trillion worth of US homes, and most of them are moderately priced

If sea levels were to rise 6 feet, 1.9 million homes, or $916 billion worth of U.S. residential real estate, could be lost, according to a new report.

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Drones used to map climate change in Zanzibar

In Zanzibar, which is a series of islands off the east coast of Africa, a group is using drones to map the effects of rising sea levels and global temperatures in an effort to combat local climate change.

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Did rapid sea-level rise drown fossil coral reefs around Hawaii?

Investigations to predict changes in sea levels and their impacts on coastal systems are a step closer, as a result of a new international collaboration.

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Warm waters tripled the amount of ice lost in these Antarctic glaciers — and that’s bad for sea level rise

Another glacier in Western Antarctica has been cracking from the inside out, producing another massive iceberg — four and a half times the size of Manhattan — this week.

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Despite Rising Seas and Bigger Storms, Florida’s Land Rush Endures

Florida was built on the seductive delusion that a swamp is a fine place for paradise.

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NASA/UCI Find Evidence of Sea Level ‘Fingerprints’

Researchers have reported the first detection of sea level “fingerprints” in ocean observations: detectable patterns of sea level variability around the world resulting from changes in water storage on Earth’s continents and in the mass of ice sheets. Scientists had a solid understanding of the physics of sea level fingerprints, but have never had a direct detection of the phenomenon until now.

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East Coast of the USA is slowly sinking into the sea, study shows

The East Coast of the United States is threatened by more frequent flooding in the future. According to this study, the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are most at risk. Their coastal regions are being immersed by up to three millimeters per year , mong other things, due to human intervention.

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The Next Houston

Even as Harvey lingers in the Gulf Coast, dumping rain on an already deluged region, the Atlantic hurricane season continues, and threatens to bring more nasty storms in short order. In the central Atlantic, Irma is some 3,000 miles southeast of Miami Wednesday afternoon, and is expected to become a hurricane later this week.

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Climate Refugees: Kiribati, Video

Scientists have said that the island nation, along with other low-lying Pacific nations, could be uninhabitable within decades. Sea level is rising 50 percent faster than it was 20 years ago and that is a real cause for alarm, so it is not a future thing we are really seeing that acceleration…

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Column: High-rises spell the end for Florida beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper

July 29th, 2017

Floridians are becoming more attuned to sea level rise and more familiar with nuisance flooding related to the rising sea. However, we believe there is less recognition that by century’s end it is likely that most of Florida’s major beaches will be permanently gone.

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Everything Worth Knowing About Sea Level Rise

July 20th, 2017

How many cities will our oceans swallow?

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Why Japan’s coastal zones might be disappearing due to climate change

July 17th, 2017

Climate change can cause a range of effects on coastal environments, such as a decrease in sediment supply, changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme events, and changes in sea levels and wave climate. The estimation of changes due to climate change is a major issue for future coastal management decisions.

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As Seas Rise, Tropical Pacific Islands Face a Perfect Storm

July 12th, 2017

Although they have done little to contribute to global warming, Pacific islanders may face some of the most dire consequences of rising seas. In a Yale e360 interview, geologist Chip Fletcher describes the threats confronting Hawaii and other islands and discusses potential adaptation strategies.

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Sea level rise isn’t just happening, it’s getting faster

June 29th, 2017

In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes — a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future.

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Rising seas could result in 2 billion refugees by 2100

June 26th, 2017

In the year 2100, 2 billion people — about one-fifth of the world’s population — could become climate change refugees due to rising ocean levels. Those who once lived on coastlines will face displacement and resettlement bottlenecks as they seek habitable places inland, according to new research.

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The fight against climate change: four cities leading the way in the Trump era

June 13th, 2017

New York City, Houston, Miami and San Francisco have all taken steps to mitigate the risks associated with rising sea levels and global temperatures. Are their successes a blueprint for action at the state and local level?

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Marine reserves help mitigate against climate change, say scientists

June 6th, 2017

Highly protected marine reserves can help mitigate against the impacts of climate change, a study by a team of international scientists has concluded.

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In Next Decades, Frequency of Coastal Flooding Will Double Globally

May 29th, 2017

The frequency and severity of coastal flooding throughout the world will increase rapidly and eventually double in frequency over the coming decades even with only moderate amounts of sea level rise, according to a new study released in “Scientific Reports.”

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How rising seas and coastal storms drowned the U.S. flood insurance program

May 23rd, 2017

Sea level rise and more severe storms are overwhelming U.S. coastal communities, causing billions of dollars in damage and essentially bankrupting the federal flood insurance program. Yet rebuilding continues, despite warnings that far more properties will soon be underwater.

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