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

King Tides A Preview Of Coming Sea Rise


Sea levels off the California coast will rise up to 2 feet by 2050 and up to 5.5 feet by 2100, scientific research suggests. Already, sea levels have risen in San Francisco by 8 inches over the past century.

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Boat Schools : A Floating Future


Every year millions of school children in Bangladesh miss countless school days when their schools are flooded. But now local NGO have come up with a simple solution, building schools that float.

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Sand Wars Come To New England Coast


Sand is becoming New England coastal dwellers’ most coveted and controversial commodity as they try to fortify beaches against rising seas and severe erosion caused by violent storms.

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Communities of Southern Chesapeake Bay Find Sea Level Rise Heightened by Sinking Land


Communities and coastal habitats in the southern Chesapeake Bay region face increased flooding because, as seawater levels are rising in the bay, the land surface is also sinking. A new USGS report concludes that intensive groundwater withdrawals are a major cause of the sinking land, that contributes to flooding risks in the region.

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NASA Finds Reducing Salt Is Bad for Glacial Health


A new NASA-led study has discovered an intriguing link between sea ice conditions and the melting rate of glacier. The discovery adds to our understanding of how ice sheets interact with the ocean, and may improve our ability to forecast and prepare for future sea level rise.

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UK: East Coast Floods: Aerial view of Tidal Surge Aftermath


Aerial footage shows the extent of damage caused to properties and coastal landscape after the worst tidal surge in more than 60 years battered the east coast of Britain…

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New Jersey Shore Likely Faces Unprecedented Flooding by Mid-Century


Geoscientists at Rutgers and Tufts universities estimate that the New Jersey shore will likely experience a sea-level rise of about 1.5 feet by 2050 and of about 3.5 feet by 2100 — 11 to 15 inches higher than the average for sea-level rise globally over the century.

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Sea Level Rise and Shoreline Changes Are Lead Influences On Floods from Tropical Cyclones


Despite the fact that recent studies have focused on climate change impacts on the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones themselves, sea level rise and shoreline retreat remain the two more certain factors expected to drive an increase in future flood risk from such storms.

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New Zealand Judge Rejects Climate Refugee Plea


A New Zealand judge on Tuesday rejected a Kiribati man’s claim that he should be granted refugee status because of climate change.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Small Islands Demand U.N. Protection


November 11th, 2013

Threatened by rising seas, some of the world’s small island developing states (SIDS) are demanding that the U.N.’s new set of Sustainable Development Goals place a high priority on the protection of oceans and marine resources.

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Antarctic Glacier Flow Controlled by Speed Bumps Below


November 8th, 2013

Narrow ribs of dirt and rock beneath Antarctic glaciers help slow the glaciers’ flow into the sea, according to new research from scientists at Princeton University and the British Antarctic Survey. Understanding the factors that control the glaciers’ flow to the sea is important because their melting contributes significantly to sea level rise.

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Sea Surrender Plan To Ease Flood Fears On South Coast, UK


November 4th, 2013

A scheme to combat flooding by surrendering land to the sea will be completed on Monday on the south coast.

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Is Global Heating Hiding Out in the Oceans?


November 2nd, 2013

A recent slowdown in global warming has led some skeptics to renew their claims that industrial carbon emissions are not causing a century-long rise in Earth’s surface temperatures. But rather than letting humans off the hook, a new study adds support to the idea that the oceans are taking up some of the excess heat, at least for the moment.

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Scientists Develop New Method to Help Global Coasts Adapt to Sea-Level Rise


October 25th, 2013

A team of scientists, led by the University of Southampton, has developed a new method to help the world’s coasts adapt to global sea-level rises over the next 100 years.

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Island Coasts Can Expand


October 23rd, 2013

Some islands in the Pacific could be getting larger, but this doesn’t not necessarily mean sea level rise is not a threat.

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Sandy: A Warning Rising Seas Threaten Nuclear Plants


October 23rd, 2013

No nuclear power plant in Sandy’s path was in imminent danger of a meltdown, but the force and size of the storm surge served as a warning that rising seas and higher storm surges, could eventually have a devastating effect on the seven low-lying nuclear power generating sites on the Northeast Coast in future hurricanes…

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As Sea Level Rises, Everglades’ Freshwater Plants Perish


October 12th, 2013

Satellite imagery over the southeastern Everglades confirms long-term trends of mangrove expansion and sawgrass habitat loss near the shore. The trend is related to salt water intrusion caused by sea-level rise and water management practices, according to a new study.

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IPCC “Conservative” On Sea Level Rise


October 11th, 2013

The international scientific community’s new assessment of the estimated sea level rise caused by global warming is a significant development, but experts say the projections for higher sea levels in the IPCC assessment report (AR5) are still on the low side. The projections are of immediate concern to low-lying countries and small island states.

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Climate Refugee From Kiribati Faces Legal Challenge In New Zealand


October 1st, 2013

A man from one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he’s a refugee, suffering not from persecution, but from climate change.

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