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 globalwarmingart.com


Surfing in / Sea Level Rise

Coastal Communities Stand on Local Climate Action, Virginia

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Like so many cities along the Atlantic coast, Virginia Beach is at the frontlines of climate change, experiencing impacts like sea-level rise and recurrent coastal flooding.

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Climate Science: Rising tide

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Researchers struggle to project how fast, how high and how far the oceans will rise.

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The New State of Nature: Rising Sea-levels, Climate Justice, and Community-based Adaptation in Papua New Guinea

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Rising sea-levels lay waste to more than coastlines. From the viewpoint of the state, they erode its claim to territorial sovereignty and call its concept of legal equity into question. From the viewpoints of low-lying, natural resource-dependent communities, the tides threaten autonomy, well-being, and, not least, property.

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Rising Seas, National Geographic

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Faced with the largest storm ever spawned over the Atlantic, New York and other cities ordered mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas. Not everyone complied. Those who chose to ride out Sandy got a preview of the future, in which a warmer world will lead to inexorably rising seas…

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Oil Industry and Smoke From Residential Burning Speed Arctic Thaw

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Gas flaring by the oil industry and smoke from residential burning contributes more black carbon pollution to Arctic than previously thought, potentially speeding the melting of Arctic sea ice.

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Trying to Shame Dune Holdouts at Jersey Shore

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Some oceanfront properties owners have refused to grant easements to allow the federal government to build a massive dune along a 50-mile stretch of the Jersey Shore. Without the protective ridge of sand, engineers predict it is only a matter of time before homes, neighborhoods, even entire communities are wiped out by rising seas.

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Caribbean Water Supplies Severely Threatened By Climate Change, Scientists Warn

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Experts are sounding a new alarm about the effects of climate change for parts of the Caribbean , the depletion of already strained drinking water throughout much of the region.

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Sea-Level Rise Drives Shoreline Retreat in Hawaii

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Sea-level rise has been isolated as a principal cause of coastal erosion in Hawaii.

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“We Are Fighting For Survival,” Pacific Islands Leader Warns

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Pacific islanders will challenge world leaders this week to act on climate change, warning that their low-lying atolls are close to becoming uninhabitable because of rising seas and increasingly severe floods, droughts and storm surges.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Sea levels may rise 2.3 metres per degree of global warming, report says

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July 15th, 2013

Seas will remain high for centuries after temperatures have risen, with the likelihood of more frequent and damaging storms…

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Pakistan’s Coast And Encroaching Seas

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July 11th, 2013

Encroaching seas are leaving farmland increasingly saline and water-logged, and leading to a decline in fresh water fish stocks. These trends are being studied by the World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan (WWF-P) which is in the middle of a five-year project to build climate change resistance on Pakistan’s coastline, where communities are vulnerable to cyclones, rising sea levels and storm surges.

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Hurricanes Likely to Get Stronger and More Frequent

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July 10th, 2013

Hurricanes are Mother Nature’s largest and most destructive storms. Fed by warm ocean waters and moist atmospheric conditions, about 90 such storms, also known as tropical cyclones, form worldwide each year. With the population of coastal areas growing daily and sea level on the rise, how these monster storms may change as the climate continues to warm is an increasingly urgent question facing climate scientists, insurance companies, and public officials.

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Scientists Image Vast Subglacial Water System

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July 9th, 2013

In a development that will help predict potential sea level rise from the Antarctic ice sheet, scientists have used an innovation in radar analysis to accurately image the vast subglacial water system under West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier. On its own, Thwaites contains enough fresh water to raise oceans by about a meter.

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Sinking Islands

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July 7th, 2013

In the south of Bangladesh, one of the countries most at threat from climate change, entire islands are being washed away by tidal surges and storms leaving their inhabitants in increasingly desperate straits. A IRIN video documentary.

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Sustainable Energy On Sinking Islands: United Arab Emirates Puts Wind Turbines In Seychelles

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July 6th, 2013

The project links a pair of strange bedfellows: One is an oil-rich Persian Gulf state of 8 million ruled by a dynastic monarchy, and the other is a democratically governed island nation of 86,000 where tropical beaches and hotels lure more than 200,000 well-heeled tourists every year.

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Simultaneous Disasters Batter Pacific Islands

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July 5th, 2013

High tides have surged over sea walls defending the capital of the Marshall Islands, adding to the crisis situation in this tiny Pacific nation, where a state of emergency was declared only last month because of a devastating drought in the scattered northern atolls.

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Predicting Hurricane-Induced Coastal Change

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July 2nd, 2013

The probability of hurricane-induced coastal change on sandy beaches from Florida to New York has been assessed for the first time in two U.S. Geological Survey studies.

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Crabs, Oysters Disappearing on Maryland’s Shrinking Island

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June 27th, 2013

Smith Island, Maryland island is slowly disappearing…Scientists at the University of Maryland say the water level is rising in part because of climate change and that the island could disappear in 20 to 50 years.

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U.S. Airports Face Increasing Threat From Rising Seas

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June 25th, 2013

Due to climate change-related sea level rise, LaGuardia and other coastal hubs throughout the U.S. face a growing risk of flooding during even modest storms.

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