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

Venice Lagoon Research Indicates Rapid Climate Change in Coastal Regions


Researchers believe that this is partly as a result of a process known as the ‘urban heat island effect’; where regions experiencing rapid industrial and urban expansion produce vast amounts of heat, making the area warmer than its surroundings.

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Satellites Trace Sea Level Change


Scientists have reviewed almost two decades of satellite data to build a new map showing the trend in sea levels. Globally, the oceans are rising, but there have been major regional differences over the period.

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Court Rules Against Village In Global Warming Case


A federal appeals court has ruled against the eroding northwest Alaska village of Kivalina, which sued energy companies over claims that greenhouse emissions contributed to global warming that is threatening the community’s existence.

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From Melting Glaciers To Rising Sea Levels: 7 Countries Battling Water Issues


The planet has plenty of eco-problems, especially with water. Across the globe, permafrost and glaciers are melting, while sea levels are rising. Here are seven images of countries from space and the water concern that each nation faces.

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Finding Heart In The Melting Arctic


The record has already been broken, but it is about to be shattered. This isn’t the kind of record you wish to remember and tell your grandchildren about.

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Arctic Ice Melting At Amazing Speed, Scientists Find


Scientists in the Arctic are warning that this summer’s record-breaking melt is part of an accelerating trend with profound implications.

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Weighing the Ocean: Solving the Biggest Problem in Sea Level Science


UK oceanographers have thought of a novel way to measure the global ocean: weigh it.

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Carbon Release from Collapsing Coastal Permafrost, Arctic Siberia


Thermal collapse of the carbon-rich, permafrost-covered coasts may accelerate with warming of the Arctic climate.

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Rhode Island’s Eroding Coast: A Serious Problem


Rhode Island’s coastline is in a natural and constant state of flux. The coastline is altered most during big storms such as hurricanes and nor’easters. High waves wash away or damage dunes that protect land further inland.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Trigger for Past Rapid Sea Level Rise Discovered


July 13th, 2012

The cause of rapid sea level rise in the past has been found by scientists at the University of Bristol using climate and ice sheet models.

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Legislators rule prediction of rising sea out of bounds


July 13th, 2012

In North Carolina, lawmakers have passed a law about planning for rising seas. Basically, it forbids coastal communities from making any plans that factor in the latest climate change science.

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Sea versus Senators


June 28th, 2012

Could nature be mocking North Carolina’s law-makers? Less than two weeks after the state’s senate passed a bill banning state agencies from reporting that sea-level rise is accelerating, research has shown that the coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is experiencing the fastest sea-level rise in the world…

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Long-Term Sea-Level Rise in a Two-Degree Warmer World


June 25th, 2012

Sea levels around the world can be expected to rise by several metres in coming centuries, if global warming carries on.

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Sea Level Rise Accelerating in U.S. Atlantic Coast


June 25th, 2012

Rates of sea level rise are increasing three-to-four times faster along portions of the U.S. Atlantic Coast than globally, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published in Nature Climate Change.

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Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Report


June 23rd, 2012

The NRC study, entitled Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future, finds that previous data showing accelerated sea level rise is consistent with their research conclusions. This report gives planners their best look yet at how melting ice sheets and warming oceans associated with climate change will raise sea levels along the country’s Pacific coast.

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Hawaiian Seabirds Vulnerable to Sea-Level Rise on Low-Lying Atoll


June 20th, 2012

The Hawaiian Islands’ largest atoll, French Frigate Shoals, is key to understanding how seabird nesting habitat will change with predicted rising sea levels, according to a team of U.S. Geological Survey biologists.

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Seeping Arctic Methane Has Serious Implications for Florida Coastline


June 19th, 2012

The more the ice cap melts, the more methane is released into the atmosphere, and the more the climate warms. This phenomenon causes sea levels to rise, which is particularly problematic along the flat Florida coastline, where a 1-foot rise in sea level could cause anywhere from 10 to 100 feet of shoreline retreat..

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Shoot the Messenger: Carolina’s Costly Mistake on Sea Level Rise


June 18th, 2012

The North Carolina Senate has approved legislation that would prohibit the state from considering projected sea level increases in its coastal management strategy. But a scientist involved in the debate argues that ignoring these projections will wind up costing North Carolina — and the rest of the U.S. —far more.

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The Hidden Impact of Sea-Level Rise


June 14th, 2012

Current projections may be underestimating the consequences of secondary effects from sea-level rise on habitat loss, and the distribution of mammals due to the relocation of human refugees into the hinterland.

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