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

Report: Soft Sand will Eventually End Beach Driving in Volusia County, Florida


Soft sand shifting south will eventually mean cars will no longer be able to drive along the beaches in Volusia County. According to the study, ocean levels are rising every year, which means Mother Nature may eventually decide if cars should remain on the beach regardless of what the sand does. The report also states cities with limited beach driving have higher real estate values.

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A New Report Lays Bare the Effects of Climate Change on the N.C. Coast


The data are in, and the numbers are unequivocal: the coast of North Carolina, and especially the northern part of the Outer Banks, is sinking into the sea.

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What the Earth Would Look Like if all the Ice Melted, Video


As National Geographic showed us in 2013, sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world’s major cities.

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Communicating a Hurricane’s Real Risks


A surprising and little known fact: More than half of those who die during hurricanes perish from drowning. For the first time this year, scientists began communicating warnings that included storm surge.

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New Interactive Storm-Surge Map Helps Residents See Potential Flood Risks


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is testing a new feature that lets people get a look at what kind of damage and storm surges are possible, and using nearby Charleston for the preliminary model.

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Sand Cents


The value of many oceanfront properties on the East Coast could drop dramatically if Congress were to suddenly end federal beach nourishment subsidies. Values could fall by as much as 17 percent in towns with high property values and almost 34 percent in towns with low property values.

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Revised NC Sea Level Report Predicts Rise Along Entire Coast


Released Tuesday by the Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel, the report presents three scenarios for rising seas along the coast through 2045, based on global predictions and historical data from five tidal gauges.

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Big Shelves Of Antarctic Ice Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought


The Antarctic is far away, freezing and buried under a patchwork of ice sheets and glaciers. But a warming climate is altering that mosaic in unpredictable ways — research published Thursday shows that the pace of change in parts of the Antarctic is accelerating.

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Doubling of Coastal Erosion by Mid-Century in Hawai’i


Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai’i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. Researchers have long understood that global sea level rise will affect the rate of coastal erosion. However, new research indicates that coastal erosion of Hawai’i’s beaches may double by mid-century.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Mysterious East Coast Flooding Caused by Weird Wind Patterns


February 25th, 2015

Mysterious flooding and high tides along the East Coast in 2009 and 2010 now have an explanation: a major change in the Atlantic Ocean’s wind patterns and warm-water currents.

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Rising Seas Threaten South Florida’s Drinking Water


February 16th, 2015

Greater Miami is a place where the idea of not having enough water seems completely inconceivable. South Florida receives about 60 inches of rainfall a year, and groundwater is more than plentiful. But rising sea levels change things in unexpected ways, and seawater threatens to turn the drinking water salty.

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Will Pacific Island Nations Disappear as Seas Rise?


February 15th, 2015

It’s a question that leaders of Pacific Island states have been asking for decades. As a warming climate drives sea levels upward, low-lying island nations face an uncertain future—or no future at all, say these leaders, who warn of their nations’ imminent disappearance.

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What the World’s Cities Would Look Like If Every Glacier Melted


February 11th, 2015

A planner maps extreme sea level rise, turning Los Angeles, New York, London, and other cities into urban archipelagoes.

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Satellite Science Improves Storm Surge Forecasting Around the World


February 6th, 2015

A new online resource which will help coastguards, meteorological organisations and scientific communities predict future storm surge patterns has been created.

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Greenland’s Hidden Meltwater Lakes Store Up Trouble


February 6th, 2015

Scientists find evidence of vast ‘storage tanks’ of water deep below the melting Greenland ice sheet that could have a major effect on sea level rise.

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Flooding Could Become Daily Problem in N.C. by 2045


February 2nd, 2015

North Carolina’s coast will see more frequent and more destructive floods at high tide over the next 30 years, several studies say – even on mild, sunny days – as rising sea levels shove the Atlantic Ocean higher onto our shores.

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U.S. Cities Lag in Race against Rising Seas


January 20th, 2015

In just a few decades, most U.S. coastal regions are likely to experience at least 30 days of nuisance flooding every year.

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For Vulnerable Barrier Islands, A Rush to Rebuild on U.S. Coast


January 18th, 2015

Despite warnings from scientists, new construction continues on U.S. barrier islands that have been devastated by storms. The flood protection projects that accompany this development can have harmful consequences for coastal ecosystems being buffeted by climate change.

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Sea Level Rising Faster Than Previously Thought


January 16th, 2015

The world’s oceans are now rising far faster than they did in the past, a new study says.

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