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
A new study suggests that a warming period more than 400,000 years ago pushed the Greenland ice sheet past its stability threshold, resulting in a nearly complete deglaciation of southern Greenland and raising global sea levels some 4-6 meters.
Ocean Beach, on the western edge of the city, has been offering San Franciscans a place to enjoy nature and water activities, but the shoreline is facing greater erosion due to sea level rise that threatens public safety and vital infrastructure.
Flooding is commonplace in the Caribbean, with Guyana for instance, one of the most flood-prone countries in the region, where nearly 90 percent of the population lives in this narrow coastal plain largely below sea level.
“At the same time the population is moving towards the coast the coast is also moving to that population,” explained Rob Thieler of the U.S. Geological Survey Science Center in Woods Hole.
Kiribati’s president, Anote Tong, said he bought land in Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island, so that his 103,000 people will have some high ground to go to when a rising sea makes his nation of 33 low-lying coral atolls unliveable.
Rising sea levels have washed the remains of at least 26 Japanese second world war soldiers from their graves on a low-lying Pacific archipelago, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands has said.
Six winning entries in a groundbreaking federal design competition to protect cities from rising sea levels were announced on Monday, and include a colossal “Big U” system that will fortify New York City’s most vulnerable, low-lying areas…
Flooding in coastal areas bordering Great South Bay, N.Y. and Barnegat Bay, N.J. caused by winter storms that occurred following Hurricane Sandy was not influenced by changes Sandy made to barrier islands or other bay features, according to a new USGS Study.
Still a long way off in many parts of the world, climate displacement is already a reality in the Pacific Islands, where rising seas are contaminating fresh water and agricultural land, and rendering some coastal areas uninhabitable.