Sea Level Rise
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
With the world’s mega-cities growing even larger, policymakers, especially those in developing countries, need urban planning that will help these areas withstand the impacts of natural disasters.
For years, scientists have warned about the danger of rising sea levels, and thanks to an artist’s projections, we can see now what the impacts might look like in real life.
Images told the story: lower Manhattan in darkness, coastal communities washed away, cars floating in muck. Superstorm Sandy, a harbinger of future extreme weather intensified by climate change, caught the U.S. off guard. Going forward, Americans face a stark choice: prepare and invest now to minimize the impact of disasters such as Sandy, or deal with storms and rising sea levels when they occur.
As a nor’easter pounded Plum Island, Mass., this month, moving trucks were being filled with belongings from damaged homes. Officials say some houses should be moved away from the coastline.
Last year’s devastating flooding in New York City from Hurricane Sandy was the city’s largest storm surge on record. Though Hurricane Sandy was considered a 100-year-event, a storm that lashes a region only once a century, a new study finds global warming could bring similar destructive storm surges to the Gulf and East Coasts of the United States every other year before 2100.
Glaciers at the edge of Greenland which are not connected to its huge ice sheet, or can be clearly separated from it, are contributing to sea-level rise much more than previously thought.
Along the coast of South Africa, researchers explore ancient rock formations dating to a period about 120,000 years ago when the earth was warmer and sea level was higher than today, trying to find clues and determine just how high the oceans might rise in a warmer world.
Canada’s Arctic Archipelago glaciers will melt faster than ever in the next few centuries.
Antarctica’s topography began changing from flat to fjord-filled starting about 34 million years ago. Knowing when Antarctica’s topography started shifting from a flat landscape to one with glaciers, fjords and mountains is important for modeling how the Antarctic ice sheet affects global climate and sea-level rise.