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

Melting of a Small Ice Volume On East Antarctica’s Shore Could Trigger Persistent Ice Discharge Into Ocean


The melting of a rather small ice volume on East Antarctica’s shore could trigger a persistent ice discharge into the ocean, resulting in unstoppable sea-level rise for thousands of years to come.

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Huge Antarctic Iceberg Headed For Open Ocean


In early November 2013, one of the largest iceberg in existence, named B31, separated from the front of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier, and is heading into the open ocean.

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Florida Communities Prepare For Rising Seas


While the nation looks for solutions to the problem of rising sea levels, some coastal communities in Florida are taking action to save themselves from sinking into the ocean…

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Saving Caribbean Tourism from the Sea


Faced with the prospect of losing miles of beautiful white beaches, and the millions in tourist dollars that come with them, from erosion driven by climate change, Barbados is taking steps to protect its coastline as a matter of economic survival.

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Dorset Coastal Erosion: Nature Should Be Allowed To Take Its Course


The National Trust has suggested that the best strategy in some cases is simply to allow nature to run its course…

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Future-Proof UK Coastal Areas Against Rising Sea Levels


A clear national strategy is “urgently needed” to help future-proof coastal areas from rising sea levels and extreme weather, according to a report published by the National Trust, UK’s biggest coastal owners.

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Arctic Sea Ice Maximum 2014


Arctic sea ice reached its annual maximum on March 21, 2014. And while the year was not extraordinary—the fifth lowest extent in 36 years of satellite records—the trend continues to be.

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Don’t Ignore Sea Rise


A letter from 99 years old, Howard K. Ammerman.

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Parting the Sea to Save Venice


The sea has protected Venice since the fifth century, when people moved to the fish-shaped islands of Rialto for safety from mainland invaders. Over the next thirteen centuries, the seafaring city-state grew in power and strength. But the tide has turned, and the sea that once protected Venice now threatens it.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Sea-level Rise Threatens UNESCO World Heritage Sites


March 5th, 2014

Some of the world’s most recognizable and important landmarks could be lost to rising sea-levels if current global warming trends are maintained over the next two millennia.

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Lost Neighborhoods of the California Coast


February 19th, 2014

Each coastal disaster is followed by the inevitable debates about whether rebuilding is the right decision.

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Island Nation Takes On The World’s Polluters


February 15th, 2014

What are the obligations under international law of a State for ensuring that activities under its jurisdiction or control that emit greenhouse gases do not cause, or substantially contribute to, serious damage to another State or States? Vulnerable countries, like Palau, that have not contributed to global warming, pressed this question in front of the ICJ.

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Greenland’s Fastest Glacier Reaches Record Speeds


February 3rd, 2014

Jakobshavn Isbræ (Jakobshavn Glacier) is moving ice from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean at a speed that appears to be the fastest ever recorded. Researchers measured the dramatic speeds of the fast-flowing glacier in 2012 and 2013.

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Nile Delta Disappearing Beneath the Sea


January 29th, 2014

In a report released last September, the IPCC predicts a sea level rise of 28 to 98 centimetres by 2100. Even by the most conservative estimate, this would destroy 12.5 percent of Egypt’s cultivated areas and displace about eight million people, or nearly 10 percent of the population. But it is not just rising sea levels that threaten Egypt’s northern coast, the delta itself is sinking.

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Threaten By Rising Sea, A 5 story Building Is Evacuated


January 25th, 2014

The owners of a five story building built on a coastal dune in the french southwestern town of Soulac-sur-Mer, have been ordered to evacuate. Built 40 years ago, 200 meters away from the shoreline, the building now stands only 20 meters away from the ocean.

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Researchers Target Sea Level Rise to Save Years of Archaeological Evidence


January 16th, 2014

Prehistoric shell mounds found on some of Florida’s most pristine beaches are at risk of washing away as the sea level rises, wiping away thousands of years of archaeological evidence.

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“We Were Once Three Miles From the Sea”


January 3rd, 2014

Grain by grain, West Africa’s coasts are eroding away, the dry land sucked under the water by a destructive mix of natural erosion and human meddling… Nyani Quarmyne has poignantly photographed the impacts of climate change on people living on the Ghana coast.

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Floating Towns And Oyster Beds: How US cities Are Preparing For Rising Seas


January 2nd, 2014

Most of America’s urban infrastructure is coastal. Of the 25 most densely populated U.S. cities, 23 are along a coast. And two of the biggest threats from climate change are increasingly intense storms and rising sea levels.

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Excessive Erosion Sweeps Hawaii Homes Out To Sea


January 2nd, 2014

For most of Hawaii, the winter means big swells and excellent surfing. But for one neighborhood, the recent waves caught more than just surfers.

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