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

Art Confronts Maldives’ Climate Change Controversy


The Maldives’ first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the world famous art show that attracts art aficionados to this Italian lagoon city every two years, is all about climate change and the threat posed by rising sea levels to this low-lying chain of islands in the Indian Ocean.

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Shored Up, A Film By Ben Kalina


Shored Up : When Nature and The Force Of Nature Collide. A Film by Ben Kalina. See Listing: Upcoming screenings.

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Moving Heaven and Earth for a House


For sentimental as well as environmental reasons, some homeowners will spend millions of dollars to move a coastal house to a new, better location.

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Coastal Erosion, Senegal


In the Senegalese town of Saint Louis, rising sea levels means that every year the sea gets closer to peoples homes and it is now just a matter of when, not if, their houses are swept away.

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Melting Glaciers Cause One-Third of Sea-Level Rise


The world’s glaciers lost 260 gigatons of water each year between 2003 and 2009, making these rivers of ice responsible for almost a third of sea-level rise in that time, new research finds.

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Earth’s Mantle Affects Sea Level Rise Estimates


Scientists have to be careful when looking at Earth for evidence of past sea level changes from the planet’s cycles of glacial advance and retreat.

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The Vanishing Beach: Hopton coastal resort engulfed by the North Sea, UK- In Pictures


These dramatic photos show the changing face of a popular beach that has had an astonishing 6,000 truckloads of sands washed away in just three years.

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Affordable and Accurate Technology to Identify Threats from Sea-Level Rise?


A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Edward L. Webb of the National University of Singapore (NUS) is calling for the global adoption of a method to identify areas that are vulnerable to sea-level rise.

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Denying Sea-Level Rise: How 100 Centimeters Divided The State of North Carolina


On the surface, it looks like America is a place where scientists and scientific achievements are held in high regard. However, just below the surface, there is another America. This America is populated by people who, on economic, political or religious grounds, have chosen to reject the consensus of the global scientific community on various topics. By Alexander Glass and Orrin Pilkey.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Americans Back Preparation for Extreme Weather and Sea Level Rise


March 29th, 2013

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.

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It’s Move It or Lose It in Path of a Nor’easter


March 21st, 2013

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.

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Katrina-Like Storm Surges Could Become Norm


March 19th, 2013

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.

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Significant Contribution of Greenland’s Peripheral Glaciers to Sea-Level Rise


March 18th, 2013

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.

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Hunting High Sea Levels in South Africa


March 16th, 2013

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.

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Canada’s Arctic Glaciers Headed For Unstoppable Thaw


March 8th, 2013

Canada’s Arctic Archipelago glaciers will melt faster than ever in the next few centuries.

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The Making of Antarctica’s Hidden Fjords


March 6th, 2013

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.

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As Sea Ice Melts, Storm Surges Batter Arctic Coasts


March 5th, 2013

As each Arctic summer brings less sea ice, two new studies warn of major changes, from devastating storm surges to huge increases in shipping.

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Uneven Global Sea-Level Rise Predicted


February 19th, 2013

Scientists have known for some time that sea level rise around the globe will not be uniform, but in this study researchers show in great detail the global pattern of sea-level rise that would result from two scenarios of ice-loss from glaciers and ice sheets.

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Reduced Sea Ice Disturbs Balance of Greenhouse Gases


February 19th, 2013

The widespread reduction in Arctic sea ice is causing significant changes to the balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is shown in a new study conducted by researchers from Lund University in Sweden, among others.

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