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

Study Links Greenland Ice Sheet Collapse, Sea Level Rise 400,000 Years Ago


A new study suggests that a warming period more than 400,000 years ago pushed the Greenland ice sheet past its stability threshold, resulting in a nearly complete deglaciation of southern Greenland and raising global sea levels some 4-6 meters.

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San Franciscans in the Dark About Flood Hazards?


Ocean Beach, on the western edge of the city, has been offering San Franciscans a place to enjoy nature and water activities, but the shoreline is facing greater erosion due to sea level rise that threatens public safety and vital infrastructure.

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Disaster-Prone Caribbean Looks to Better Financing


Flooding is commonplace in the Caribbean, with Guyana for instance, one of the most flood-prone countries in the region, where nearly 90 percent of the population lives in this narrow coastal plain largely below sea level.

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Erosion Nibbles Away at Cape Cod’s Coast


“At the same time the population is moving towards the coast the coast is also moving to that population,” explained Rob Thieler of the U.S. Geological Survey Science Center in Woods Hole.

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Kiribati President Purchases Resettlement Land as Precaution Against Rising Sea


Kiribati’s president, Anote Tong, said he bought land in Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island, so that his 103,000 people will have some high ground to go to when a rising sea makes his nation of 33 low-lying coral atolls unliveable.

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Rising Seas Wash Dead Away from Marshall Islands Graves


Rising sea levels have washed the remains of at least 26 Japanese second world war soldiers from their graves on a low-lying Pacific archipelago, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands has said.

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Could This ‘Big U’ Save NYC From Another Superstorm ?


Six winning entries in a groundbreaking federal design competition to protect cities from rising sea levels were announced on Monday, and include a colossal “Big U” system that will fortify New York City’s most vulnerable, low-lying areas…

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Hurricane Sandy Impacts Did Not Contribute to Subsequent Storm Flooding, A Study


Flooding in coastal areas bordering Great South Bay, N.Y. and Barnegat Bay, N.J. caused by winter storms that occurred following Hurricane Sandy was not influenced by changes Sandy made to barrier islands or other bay features, according to a new USGS Study.

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Fiji Leads Pacific Region on Climate Adaptation Efforts


Still a long way off in many parts of the world, climate displacement is already a reality in the Pacific Islands, where rising seas are contaminating fresh water and agricultural land, and rendering some coastal areas uninhabitable.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Back To The Future To Determine If Sea Level Rise Is Accelerating


May 10th, 2014

Scientists have developed a new method for revealing how sea levels might rise around the world throughout the 21st century , analyzing data from 10 long-term sea level monitoring stations located around the world.

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Sentinel Satellite Spies Ice Cap Speed-Up


May 8th, 2014

One of the largest ice caps on Earth has experienced a dramatic speed-up, according to new satellite pictures.

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Melting of a Small Ice Volume On East Antarctica’s Shore Could Trigger Persistent Ice Discharge Into Ocean


May 5th, 2014

The melting of a rather small ice volume on East Antarctica’s shore could trigger a persistent ice discharge into the ocean, resulting in unstoppable sea-level rise for thousands of years to come.

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Huge Antarctic Iceberg Headed For Open Ocean


April 24th, 2014

In early November 2013, one of the largest iceberg in existence, named B31, separated from the front of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier, and is heading into the open ocean.

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Florida Communities Prepare For Rising Seas


April 23rd, 2014

While the nation looks for solutions to the problem of rising sea levels, some coastal communities in Florida are taking action to save themselves from sinking into the ocean…

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Saving Caribbean Tourism from the Sea


April 17th, 2014

Faced with the prospect of losing miles of beautiful white beaches, and the millions in tourist dollars that come with them, from erosion driven by climate change, Barbados is taking steps to protect its coastline as a matter of economic survival.

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Dorset Coastal Erosion: Nature Should Be Allowed To Take Its Course


April 13th, 2014

The National Trust has suggested that the best strategy in some cases is simply to allow nature to run its course…

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Future-Proof UK Coastal Areas Against Rising Sea Levels


April 11th, 2014

A clear national strategy is “urgently needed” to help future-proof coastal areas from rising sea levels and extreme weather, according to a report published by the National Trust, UK’s biggest coastal owners.

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Arctic Sea Ice Maximum 2014


April 9th, 2014

Arctic sea ice reached its annual maximum on March 21, 2014. And while the year was not extraordinary—the fifth lowest extent in 36 years of satellite records—the trend continues to be.

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Don’t Ignore Sea Rise


April 1st, 2014

A letter from 99 years old, Howard K. Ammerman.

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