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

Canada’s Arctic Glaciers Headed For Unstoppable Thaw


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


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


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


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


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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Filipino Super-Typhoon An Ominous Warning Of Climate Change Impact


Philippines is having to adapt and adjust to rapidly deteriorating climatic trends at a great cost to its economy

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Islands Want UN To See Climate As Security Threat


The Marshall Islands and other low-lying island nations appealed to the U.N. Security Council to recognize climate change as an international security threat that jeopardizes their very survival.

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U.S. Sea Level Rise Along East Coast To Accelerate With Gulf Stream Slowdown


Experts on the sea level rise triggered by climate change have long known that it will proceed faster in some places than others.

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Retooling New York for Apocalyptic Storms


During World War II, a German U-boat made its way into New York Harbour. It fired two torpedoes at a British tanker, splitting the hull in three places and igniting it in flames. The captain and 35 members of his crew burned to death. Seventy years later, New York Harbour is Lower Manhattan’s first line of defence against another threat: the rising tides of the sea.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Mutant Fruit Trees to Grow in Saline Soils in Cuba


December 20th, 2012

During some parts of the year, a layer of salt can be seen on the ground in eastern Cuba, which makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to farm. Since agronomist Orlando Coto saw this with his own eyes, he has been searching for salt-tolerant fruit trees.

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King tides test California coast, show what sea-level rise could mean


December 14th, 2012

Some Californians were in for another day of ankle-deep seawater in low-lying coastal communities Friday as unusually high “king tides” pulled the Pacific farther ashore than normal.

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Coastal Erosion Threatens Cape Breton Homes, Nova Scotia


December 9th, 2012

Sea ice once offered some protection, but there’s much less ice these days as the wind and waves are bringing the shoreline closer to their front doors, some Cape Breton residents fear their homes will be washed away…

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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rise to 2.4 million Pounds Per Second


December 3rd, 2012

The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 percent. So scientists say it’s now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal.

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Coastal Erosion Reaches Alarming Levels in Vietnam


November 29th, 2012

For the last decade, many families in this southwestern Vietnamese province have been uprooted at least once every two years, but this is not due to economic or political upheaval.

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Rising Seas, Vanishing Coastlines


November 27th, 2012

The oceans have risen and fallen throughout Earth’s history, following the planet’s natural temperature cycles. Twenty thousand years ago, what is now New York City was at the edge of a giant ice sheet, and the sea was roughly 400 feet lower. But as the last ice age thawed, the sea rose to where it is today.

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Middle ground Of Sea-Level Change


November 27th, 2012

New research is throwing light on another, less-familiar component of sea-level variability, the “intra-seasonal” changes that occupy the middle ground between rapid, storm-related surges in sea level and the long-term increase in sea level due to global climate change.

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The Retreat of the Gualas Glacier, Northern Patagonia


November 25th, 2012

Like many mountain glaciers, the Gualas Glacier in the Patagonian region of Chile has retreated fast during the past century in the face of climate change. But not only for the reason you’d first suspect.

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We Need to Retreat From the Beach


November 15th, 2012

As ocean waters warm, the Northeast is likely to face more Sandy-like storms. And as sea levels continue to rise, the surges of these future storms will be higher and even more deadly. We can’t stop these powerful storms. But we can reduce the deaths and damage they cause… An Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey.

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Venice High Water Floods 70% of City


November 13th, 2012

Venice’s high water, or “acqua alta”, said to be the sixth highest since 1872, flooded 70% of the city and was high enough to make raised wooden platforms for pedestrians float away.

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