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

Melting Antarctic: Failure to Act Now on Emissions Could Raise Oceans by Metres

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In recent decades, Antarctica and Greenland have played minor roles in the world’s rising oceans. But this is changing. Rising sea levels don’t just put places underwater, but every centimetre increases the impacts that storm surges have on people, homes and coastal infrastructure.

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The State That ‘Outlawed Climate Change’ Accepts Latest Sea-Level Rise Report

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Five years ago, the Science Panel of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commissioner presented a report outlining that sea levels along the coast could rise as much as 39 inches over the next 100 years. The General Assembly passed a law forbidding communities from using this report to pass new rules. Now, almost three years later, the scientists have come back with a new report, but it is hardly complete and universal.

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Engineers Warn East Coast Storms Point to Future Flooding, Erosion risks, Push for Town Planning Changes

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Recent catastrophic flood events in New South Wales should sound warnings for communities across the country, water engineers say.

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Duck Beach is Sinking Fast and Deep, NC

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The beach at Duck is sinking faster than the ocean is rising. The phenomenon, called vertical land movement, is a lesser-known part of the debate over sea-level rise…

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From Texas to Maine: NOAA’s Expanded Flood Information Tool

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A NOAA flood exposure risk mapping tool that was developed in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania has now been expanded to cover coastal areas along the entire U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.

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County Declares Six Houses on Buxton Beach Unsafe, NC

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A Dare County building inspector has put up “unsafe structure” notices on six oceanfront houses north of this town on Hatteras Island, NC. Most of the recent erosion seems to be in an area where owners had placed sandbags in front of the houses.

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Miami Beach Sees Rising Seas as No Threat to Real Estate Boom, For Now

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Miami Beach’s condo boom is bubbling hot, with glass towers being built as fast as they can be—even as scientists say rising seas could swamp much of the storied city by the century’s end.

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Report: Soft Sand will Eventually End Beach Driving in Volusia County, Florida

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Soft sand shifting south will eventually mean cars will no longer be able to drive along the beaches in Volusia County. According to the study, ocean levels are rising every year, which means Mother Nature may eventually decide if cars should remain on the beach regardless of what the sand does. The report also states cities with limited beach driving have higher real estate values.

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A New Report Lays Bare the Effects of Climate Change on the N.C. Coast

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The data are in, and the numbers are unequivocal: the coast of North Carolina, and especially the northern part of the Outer Banks, is sinking into the sea.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Doubling of Coastal Erosion by Mid-Century in Hawai’i

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March 24th, 2015

Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai’i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. Researchers have long understood that global sea level rise will affect the rate of coastal erosion. However, new research indicates that coastal erosion of Hawai’i’s beaches may double by mid-century.

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Facing Coastal Erosion: a Dilemma for the Residents

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March 24th, 2015

This past week’s exceptionally high tides revived a debate that has been dividing residents of the Atlantic island of Noirmoutier, off Vendée’s coast, France.

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Seagull Drive Legal Saga Finally Ends, NC

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March 24th, 2015

Five years after the town declared them public nuisances, six dilapidated houses in South Nags Head will finally be torn down.

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UK’s Coastal Railways Vulnerable to Climate Threat, Expert Warns

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March 24th, 2015

Hundreds of miles of railway lines around Britain’s coast are becoming increasingly vulnerable to waves, landslides and storms triggered by climate pollution.

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Rising Seas Threaten Everything from Wallops to Resorts

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March 21st, 2015

Because of accelerated sea-level rise, Delmarva may look very different in 30-40 years. One of Delmarva’s real gems — Wallops Island and the rapidly growing NASA flight facility that is located there — is taking steps to ensure its costly and critical infrastructure isn’t inundated by a rising sea level.

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East Antarctica Melting Could be Explained by 2 Oceanic Gateways

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March 17th, 2015

Researchers have discovered two seafloor gateways that could allow warm ocean water to reach the base of Totten Glacier, East Antarctica’s largest and most rapidly thinning glacier. The discovery probably explains the glacier’s extreme thinning and raises concerns about how it will affect sea level rise.

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Climate Change in the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, Before and After- Interactive

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March 11th, 2015

Photographer Rémi Chauvin recreated a set of historical images depicting the first impacts of climate change in these countries where no one lives more than a few metres above the sea…

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Mysterious East Coast Flooding Caused by Weird Wind Patterns

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February 25th, 2015

Mysterious flooding and high tides along the East Coast in 2009 and 2010 now have an explanation: a major change in the Atlantic Ocean’s wind patterns and warm-water currents.

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Rising Seas Threaten South Florida’s Drinking Water

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February 16th, 2015

Greater Miami is a place where the idea of not having enough water seems completely inconceivable. South Florida receives about 60 inches of rainfall a year, and groundwater is more than plentiful. But rising sea levels change things in unexpected ways, and seawater threatens to turn the drinking water salty.

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Will Pacific Island Nations Disappear as Seas Rise?

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February 15th, 2015

It’s a question that leaders of Pacific Island states have been asking for decades. As a warming climate drives sea levels upward, low-lying island nations face an uncertain future—or no future at all, say these leaders, who warn of their nations’ imminent disappearance.

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