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 globalwarmingart.com


Surfing in / Sea Level Rise

No longer water under the bridge, statistics yields new data on sea levels

While the scientific community has long warned about rising sea levels and their destructive impact on some of the United States’ most populous cities, researchers have developed a new, statistical method that more precisely calculates the rate of sea level rise, showing it’s not only increasing, but accelerating.

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Higher seas to flood dozens of US cities, study says; is yours one of them?

For the past several years, scientists have been trying to get people to wake up to the dangers that lie ahead in rising seas due to climate change. A comprehensive list now names hundreds of US cities, large and small, that may not make it through the next 20, 50 or 80 years due to sea level rise.

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

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

How many cities will our oceans swallow?

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

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

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

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

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

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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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Climate change could spell ‘extreme poverty’ in coastal NZ towns

April 27th, 2017

Along New Zealand’s West Coast, the shoreline has been eroding for many years, the relentless sea moves closer by the day. Now the Tasman sea has snuck into some of the beach-front properties. With rising sea levels and more intense storms likely because of a warming climate, parts of Granity will become uninhabitable.

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Sea Level Rise Will Reshape U.S. Population In All 50 States

April 19th, 2017

Sea level rise could cause mass migrations that will affect not just the United States’ East Coast, but reshape communities deep in the heart of the country, according to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change this week.

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When rising seas transform risk into certainty

April 19th, 2017

Along parts of the East Coast, the entire system of insuring coastal property is beginning to break down.

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Warning from IDB expert: Trinidad is shrinking

April 18th, 2017

Trinidad is shrinking and changing as it becomes increasingly vulnerable to storms, flooding and other natural disasters which cause coastal erosion and the retreating of the shoreline. In Columbus Bay, in West Trinidad, the coastline has retreated by 150 metres since 1994, losing 6.5 hectares of land.

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As China’s Mudflats Disappear, Shorebird Populations Rapidly Decline

April 13th, 2017

Populations of some migratory shorebirds are declining by as much as 8 percent per year as mudflats in the Yellow Sea between China and South Korea disappear due to rising sea levels and infrastructure projects, according to new research.

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Miami’s fight against rising seas

April 8th, 2017

In the battle against rising seas, Florida – which has more to lose than almost anywhere else in the world – is becoming ground zero.

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Disappearing Beaches: Modeling Shoreline Change in Southern California

March 28th, 2017

Using a newly-developed computer model, scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea-level rise of one to two meters.

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Surfers will be the canaries in the coal mine on climate change

March 25th, 2017

If the sea level continues to rise, as scientists warn, there will be a serious consequence for the sport: smaller and fewer waves. Consistently higher tides will change the way waves break on reefs and beaches. Without climate change intervention, those effects could become apparent in as a little as 50 years.

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Record-Low Ice Confirmed at North and South Poles

March 23rd, 2017

Sea ice at Earth’s poles is dwindling, and it reached record lows this month, scientists report.

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Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters

March 20th, 2017

Sea level rise is making floods more common and as the New Jersey resort braces for the next Sandy, the well-heeled Florida city is throwing money at the problem

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