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

Despite Risks, Cuban Fisher Families Don’t Want to Leave the Sea


The old dilemma of leaving everything behind for safety reasons has reemerged with the new zoning regulations being implemented on Cuba’s 5,746 km of shoreline…

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FEMA Paying To Raise Houses On Stilts In Carolina Beach, NC


Seven flood-prone houses in Carolina Beach will be raised on stilts, a hazard mitigation project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Has The Time Come For Floating Cities?


From schools at sea to a city that perpetually sails the oceans, is climate change creating a bold new era of floating urban design..?

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Northeast Greenland Ice Loss Accelerating, Researchers Say


The last remaining stable portion of the Greenland ice sheet is stable no more, an international team of scientists has discovered. The finding will likely boost estimates of expected global sea level rise in the future.

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King Tides: What Explains High Water Threatening Global Coasts?


Last month, coastlines saw extreme high and low tides known as king tides, which are caused by a chance alignment of the moon, Earth, and the sun. Now the tides are back…

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Sea-level Rise Threatens UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Some of the world’s most recognizable and important landmarks could be lost to rising sea-levels if current global warming trends are maintained over the next two millennia.

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Lost Neighborhoods of the California Coast


Each coastal disaster is followed by the inevitable debates about whether rebuilding is the right decision.

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Island Nation Takes On The World’s Polluters


What are the obligations under international law of a State for ensuring that activities under its jurisdiction or control that emit greenhouse gases do not cause, or substantially contribute to, serious damage to another State or States? Vulnerable countries, like Palau, that have not contributed to global warming, pressed this question in front of the ICJ.

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Greenland’s Fastest Glacier Reaches Record Speeds


Jakobshavn Isbræ (Jakobshavn Glacier) is moving ice from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean at a speed that appears to be the fastest ever recorded. Researchers measured the dramatic speeds of the fast-flowing glacier in 2012 and 2013.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

King Tides A Preview Of Coming Sea Rise


December 30th, 2013

Sea levels off the California coast will rise up to 2 feet by 2050 and up to 5.5 feet by 2100, scientific research suggests. Already, sea levels have risen in San Francisco by 8 inches over the past century.

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Boat Schools : A Floating Future


December 23rd, 2013

Every year millions of school children in Bangladesh miss countless school days when their schools are flooded. But now local NGO have come up with a simple solution, building schools that float.

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Sand Wars Come To New England Coast


December 21st, 2013

Sand is becoming New England coastal dwellers’ most coveted and controversial commodity as they try to fortify beaches against rising seas and severe erosion caused by violent storms.

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Communities of Southern Chesapeake Bay Find Sea Level Rise Heightened by Sinking Land


December 11th, 2013

Communities and coastal habitats in the southern Chesapeake Bay region face increased flooding because, as seawater levels are rising in the bay, the land surface is also sinking. A new USGS report concludes that intensive groundwater withdrawals are a major cause of the sinking land, that contributes to flooding risks in the region.

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NASA Finds Reducing Salt Is Bad for Glacial Health


December 7th, 2013

A new NASA-led study has discovered an intriguing link between sea ice conditions and the melting rate of glacier. The discovery adds to our understanding of how ice sheets interact with the ocean, and may improve our ability to forecast and prepare for future sea level rise.

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UK: East Coast Floods: Aerial view of Tidal Surge Aftermath


December 6th, 2013

Aerial footage shows the extent of damage caused to properties and coastal landscape after the worst tidal surge in more than 60 years battered the east coast of Britain…

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New Jersey Shore Likely Faces Unprecedented Flooding by Mid-Century


December 5th, 2013

Geoscientists at Rutgers and Tufts universities estimate that the New Jersey shore will likely experience a sea-level rise of about 1.5 feet by 2050 and of about 3.5 feet by 2100 — 11 to 15 inches higher than the average for sea-level rise globally over the century.

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Sea Level Rise and Shoreline Changes Are Lead Influences On Floods from Tropical Cyclones


December 4th, 2013

Despite the fact that recent studies have focused on climate change impacts on the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones themselves, sea level rise and shoreline retreat remain the two more certain factors expected to drive an increase in future flood risk from such storms.

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New Zealand Judge Rejects Climate Refugee Plea


November 29th, 2013

A New Zealand judge on Tuesday rejected a Kiribati man’s claim that he should be granted refugee status because of climate change.

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U.S. Interior Chief Stunned By Eroding S.C Island


November 25th, 2013

From the beach on this seven-mile-long natural landmark, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stared carefully at the eerie landscape of fallen and broken trees. Once majestic hardwoods and sturdy palms, the trees were the dead victims of an encroaching sea.

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