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

Natural Defences Can Sharply Limit Coastal Damage


Coastal forests, coral reefs, sand dunes, marshes and wetlands are just a few of the natural habitats that protect two-thirds of the US coastline from hazards such as hurricane, and are key to protecting lives and property against storm surges and long-term sea-level rise.

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Sea levels may rise 2.3 metres per degree of global warming, report says


Seas will remain high for centuries after temperatures have risen, with the likelihood of more frequent and damaging storms…

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Pakistan’s Coast And Encroaching Seas


Encroaching seas are leaving farmland increasingly saline and water-logged, and leading to a decline in fresh water fish stocks. These trends are being studied by the World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan (WWF-P) which is in the middle of a five-year project to build climate change resistance on Pakistan’s coastline, where communities are vulnerable to cyclones, rising sea levels and storm surges.

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Hurricanes Likely to Get Stronger and More Frequent


Hurricanes are Mother Nature’s largest and most destructive storms. Fed by warm ocean waters and moist atmospheric conditions, about 90 such storms, also known as tropical cyclones, form worldwide each year. With the population of coastal areas growing daily and sea level on the rise, how these monster storms may change as the climate continues to warm is an increasingly urgent question facing climate scientists, insurance companies, and public officials.

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Scientists Image Vast Subglacial Water System


In a development that will help predict potential sea level rise from the Antarctic ice sheet, scientists have used an innovation in radar analysis to accurately image the vast subglacial water system under West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier. On its own, Thwaites contains enough fresh water to raise oceans by about a meter.

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Sinking Islands


In the south of Bangladesh, one of the countries most at threat from climate change, entire islands are being washed away by tidal surges and storms leaving their inhabitants in increasingly desperate straits. A IRIN video documentary.

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Sustainable Energy On Sinking Islands: United Arab Emirates Puts Wind Turbines In Seychelles


The project links a pair of strange bedfellows: One is an oil-rich Persian Gulf state of 8 million ruled by a dynastic monarchy, and the other is a democratically governed island nation of 86,000 where tropical beaches and hotels lure more than 200,000 well-heeled tourists every year.

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Simultaneous Disasters Batter Pacific Islands


High tides have surged over sea walls defending the capital of the Marshall Islands, adding to the crisis situation in this tiny Pacific nation, where a state of emergency was declared only last month because of a devastating drought in the scattered northern atolls.

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Predicting Hurricane-Induced Coastal Change


The probability of hurricane-induced coastal change on sandy beaches from Florida to New York has been assessed for the first time in two U.S. Geological Survey studies.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

New Climate Data Depict a City More at Risk


June 11th, 2013

Officials say new projections show 800,000 New York City residents could be living in flood zone that would cover a quarter of the city’s land by the 2050s as rising seas and other effects of global warming take hold.

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Art Confronts Maldives’ Climate Change Controversy


June 5th, 2013

The Maldives’ first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the world famous art show that attracts art aficionados to this Italian lagoon city every two years, is all about climate change and the threat posed by rising sea levels to this low-lying chain of islands in the Indian Ocean.

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Shored Up, A Film By Ben Kalina


June 4th, 2013

Shored Up : When Nature and The Force Of Nature Collide. A Film by Ben Kalina. See Listing: Upcoming screenings.

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Moving Heaven and Earth for a House


May 31st, 2013

For sentimental as well as environmental reasons, some homeowners will spend millions of dollars to move a coastal house to a new, better location.

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Coastal Erosion, Senegal


May 16th, 2013

In the Senegalese town of Saint Louis, rising sea levels means that every year the sea gets closer to peoples homes and it is now just a matter of when, not if, their houses are swept away.

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Melting Glaciers Cause One-Third of Sea-Level Rise


May 16th, 2013

The world’s glaciers lost 260 gigatons of water each year between 2003 and 2009, making these rivers of ice responsible for almost a third of sea-level rise in that time, new research finds.

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Earth’s Mantle Affects Sea Level Rise Estimates


May 16th, 2013

Scientists have to be careful when looking at Earth for evidence of past sea level changes from the planet’s cycles of glacial advance and retreat.

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The Vanishing Beach: Hopton coastal resort engulfed by the North Sea, UK- In Pictures


May 4th, 2013

These dramatic photos show the changing face of a popular beach that has had an astonishing 6,000 truckloads of sands washed away in just three years.

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Affordable and Accurate Technology to Identify Threats from Sea-Level Rise?


April 26th, 2013

A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Edward L. Webb of the National University of Singapore (NUS) is calling for the global adoption of a method to identify areas that are vulnerable to sea-level rise.

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Denying Sea-Level Rise: How 100 Centimeters Divided The State of North Carolina


April 23rd, 2013

On the surface, it looks like America is a place where scientists and scientific achievements are held in high regard. However, just below the surface, there is another America. This America is populated by people who, on economic, political or religious grounds, have chosen to reject the consensus of the global scientific community on various topics. By Alexander Glass and Orrin Pilkey.

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