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

Sinking Atlantic Coastline Meets Rapidly Rising Seas

Geological changes along the East Coast are causing land to sink along the seaboard. That’s exacerbating the flood-inducing effects of sea level rise, which has been occurring faster in the western Atlantic Ocean than elsewhere in recent years.

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Website reveals which homes will be swamped by rising sea levels

For the first time, Australians can see on a map how rising sea levels will affect their house just by typing their address into a website.

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Sea level rise threatens U.S. historic sites

Many of the most threatened sites in North America lie along the East Coast between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and southern Maine, where the rate of sea level rise is among the fastest in the world.

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North Carolina Sea Level: No more head-in-the-sand?

How science works: Research indicating faster rates of sea-level rise along North Carolina coast may influence state actions affecting coastal properties.

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Increased flooding, accelerated sea-level rise in Miami over last decade, new study shows

Miami Beach flood events have significantly increased over the last decade due to an acceleration of sea-level rise in South Florida, a new report warns. The researchers suggest that regional sea-level projections should be used in place of global projections to better prepare for future flood hazards in the region.

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Is the Ocean Melting the Ice?

Global sea level rise is one of the major environmental challenges of the 21st Century, and Greenland is central to the problem. That massive ice sheet touches the sea along more than 44,000 kilometers of jagged coastline, and the ice sheet is not just melting from warm air temperatures above; it is also likely being melted from water below.

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Sea levels set to ‘rise far more rapidly than expected’

New research factors in collapsing Antarctic ice sheet that could double the sea-level rise to two metres by 2100 if emissions are not cut

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Coastal erosion claiming one metre of land from Geraldton beach each year, study reveals

Coastal erosion is claiming more than a metre of land every year from parts of a seaside city on Western Australia’s Mid West coast, and the rate has increased significantly in recent decades, a new study has revealed.

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As U.S. Coastal Cities Swell, Rising Seas Threaten Millions

That combination of rising populations and rising seas could see millions of Americans living in homes that flood regularly during the decades ahead, according to a nationwide analysis.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Tanzania: Rising Sea Ruins Isles Beaches

February 24th, 2016

The Union Government cannot just look at Zanzibar sinking without providing help, said officials after a short tour to areas affected by erosion caused by the sea rise. Negative impacts of climate change in the Islands are real, and aggravated by people’s unnecessary cutting down of trees, and illegal mining to get sand and stones as building materials.

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Sea levels rose faster in 20th century than in previous 2,700 years, says study

February 23rd, 2016

Scientists have modeled a history of the planet’s sea levels spanning back 3,000 years, and concluded that the rate of increase last century “was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries.”

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New Data Reveal Stunning Acceleration of Sea Level Rise

February 22nd, 2016

The oceans have heaved up and down as world temperatures have waxed and waned, but as new research tracking the past 2,800 years shows, never during that time did the seas rise as sharply or as suddenly as has been the case during the last century.

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Can art help? Museums joining the conversation about sea-level rise and climate change

February 15th, 2016

Topics like climate change and sea-level rise are not only reserved for government and university research. The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and local museums, are joining the conversation.

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Study: Rising Seas Slowed by Increasing Water on Land

February 15th, 2016

New measurements from a NASA satellite have allowed researchers to identify and quantify, for the first time, how climate-driven increases of liquid water storage on land have temporarily slowed the rate of sea level rise by about 20 percent.

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Sea-level rise ‘could last twice as long as human history’

February 13th, 2016

Huge sea-level rises caused by climate change will last far longer than the entire history of human civilisation to date, according to new research, unless the brief window of opportunity of the next few decades is used to cut carbon emissions drastically.

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Antarctic study identifies melting ice sheet’s role in sea level rise

February 4th, 2016

Loss of ice in Antarctica caused by a warming ocean could raise global sea levels by three meters, research suggests.

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Protect S.C. coast: No retreat from ‘line in the sand’

February 2nd, 2016

South Carolina faces an historic opportunity this legislative session, with a vote on the floor likely in the coming weeks. The time could not come soon enough, as our coastal communities face record-breaking storm surges, sea level rise, and flooding events.

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Shifting Sands, Shifted Rights: The Beach as Contested Space

January 28th, 2016

Determining rights to Florida’s sandy beaches has presented a thorny set of issues. But for many years, the public and private interests have co-existed. Now, along with population growth, sea level rise and relentless erosion have become an uncomfortable reality. The infinite variety of scenarios that sea level rise is presenting and will present along the coast will challenge our legal system in many ways.

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Climate change: Ocean warming underestimated

January 27th, 2016

To date, research on the effects of climate change has underestimated the contribution of seawater expansion to sea level rise due to warming of the oceans. A team of researchers has now investigated, using satellite data, that this effect was almost twice as large over the past twelve years than previously assumed. That may result in, for example, significantly increased risks of storm surges.

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