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

Pacific Climate Change Warriors Block World’s Largest Coal Port


Climate Change Warriors from 12 Pacific Island nations paddled canoes into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia, to bring attention to their grave fears about the consequences of climate change.

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Salt Marsh Plants Key to Reducing Coastal Erosion and Flooding


The effectiveness of salt marshes – wetlands which are flooded and drained by tides – in protecting coastal areas in times of severe weather has been quantified in a study by researchers from the University of Cambridge.

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Sea Level Rise Over Past Century Unmatched in 6,000 Years, Says Study


The rise in sea levels seen over the past century is unmatched by any period in the past 6,000 years, according to a lengthy analysis of historical sea level trends.

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Expanding Antarctic Sea Ice is Coastal Flooding ‘Warning Bell’


Research suggests that the expansion of Antarctic sea ice heralds ocean changes that will hasten ice sheet melting, by trapping heat beneath a layer of cold surface water, worsening flooding around the world.

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Encroaching Tides, A Report By The Union of Concerned Scientists


Tidal flooding, driven by sea level rise, will dramatically increase in U.S. East and Gulf Coast communities over the next 30 years. Daily flooding caused by high tides will occur in the District and Annapolis within three decades as sea levels continue to rise due to global warming, a new study says.

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NASA Study Finds Earth’s Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed


NASA scientists analyzed satellite and direct ocean temperature data from 2005 to 2013 and found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably. The temperature of the top half of the world’s oceans — above the 1.24-mile mark — is still climbing, but not fast enough to account for the stalled air temperatures…

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Miami Beach Prepares For Annual King Tide Flooding And A Taste Of Future Sea Level Rise


The event, caused by the alignment of the sun, moon and Earth, provides a taste of the potential impact of a longer-term two-foot sea level rise predicted for south Florida by 2060. The low-lying greater Miami area, with a population of 5.7 million, is one of the world’s most at-risk urban communities.

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Sediment Plumes Around Greenland


Toward the end of the 21st century, melting from the Greenland Ice Sheet could result in global sea level rise of 4-21 centimeters (2-8 inches). Toward refining that estimate, some scientists are taking a close look at the colorful plumes that pepper the ocean around Greenland’s perimeter.

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Global Sea Levels Rose Up To Five Meters Per Century At The End Of The Last Five Ice Age


Land-ice decay at the end of the last five ice-ages caused global sea-levels to rise at rates of up to 5.5 metres per century, according to a new study.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

A Tale of Two Cities: Miami, New York and Life on the Edge


August 22nd, 2014

Walking along the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale and admiring the 60-foot yachts docked alongside impressive homes, it’s hard to imagine that this city could suffer the same financial fate as Detroit.

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Cause Of Global Warming Hiatus Found Deep In the Atlantic Ocean


August 22nd, 2014

Observations show that the heat absent from the Earth’s surface for more than a decade is plunging deep in the north and south Atlantic Ocean, and is part of a naturally occurring cycle.

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Greenland Ice Melting At Record Speed


August 22nd, 2014

Satellite data shows ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are declining at record speed. The annual loss of ice has doubled in the case of Greenland and tripled in the West Antarctic compared to figures from 2009.

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Swamped by Rising Seas, Small Islands Seek a Lifeline


August 11th, 2014

The world’s 52 small island developing states (SIDS), some in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth because of sea-level rise triggered by climate change, will be the focus of an international conference in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa next month.

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Atlantic Warming Turbocharges Pacific Trade Winds


August 4th, 2014

Rapid warming of the Atlantic Ocean, likely caused by global warming, has turbocharged Pacific Equatorial trade winds. This has caused eastern tropical Pacific cooling, amplified the Californian drought, accelerated sea level rise three times faster than the global average in the Western Pacific…

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Arctic Melt Pond


August 3rd, 2014

From above, Arctic ice looks quite different in summer than it does in winter. As temperatures rise in the summer, turquoise splotches of color begin to speckle the ice surfaces. The splashes of blue are melt ponds, areas where snow has melted and pooled in low spots on glaciers and sea ice.

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Science Panel Works To Update Sea-Level Rise Report, NC


August 1st, 2014

A NC state-appointed science panel began work last week on an update to a controversial sea-level rise report, members of the panel said Thursday at a meeting of the Coastal Resources Commission.

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Hawaii: Climate Wipeout


July 30th, 2014

A new video series that depicts Americans living on the front lines of climate change zooms in on one of our favorite vacation spots.

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‘Nuisance Flooding’ An Increasing Problem As Coastal Sea Levels Rise


July 28th, 2014

A NOAA study looks at more than 60 years of coastal water level and local elevation data changes. Eight of the top 10 U.S. cities that have seen an increase in so-called “nuisance flooding”.

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Venice Is At The Heart Of Climate Change Debate


July 28th, 2014

Venice – which is already fighting sea level rise – is a city which is extremely threatened by climate change. For the people who live there and the millions who visit every year, we have this message: Save the Climate, There is no Planet B.

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