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

Antarctic coastline images reveal four decades of ice loss to ocean

A study of images along 2000km of West Antarctica’s coastline has shown the loss of about 1000km2 of ice – an area equivalent to the city of Berlin – over the past 40 years. Researchers were surprised to find that the region has been losing ice for such a length of time. Their findings will help improve estimates of global sea level rise caused by ice melt.

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Nearly 7 million US homes at hurricane risk this season: Report

More than 6.8 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of damage from hurricane storm surges, with a total reconstruction cost value of more than $1.5 trillion, according to CoreLogic’s 2016 Storm Surge Report.

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Rising seas put brakes on developers’ march toward the ocean, SC

The South Carolina House just passed a bill that will close a loophole in state law that has allowed new construction closer to the ocean when renourishment projects temporarily widen the seashore. The lower chamber’s action is considered a significant, long-term step to prevent construction farther out on the beach at a time of rising sea levels.

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Scientists Improve Maps of Subsidence in New Orleans

New Orleans and its surrounding areas continue to sink at highly variable rates due to a combination of natural geologic processes and human activity, according to a new study using NASA airborne radar.

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The First Official Climate Refugees in the U.S. Race Against Time

A Native American tribe struggles to hold on to their culture in a Louisiana bayou while their land slips into the Gulf of Mexico.

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Scientists predict extensive ice loss from huge Antarctic glacier

Current rates of climate change could trigger instability in a major Antarctic glacier, ultimately leading to more than 2m of sea-level rise. By studying the history of Totten’s advances and retreats, researchers have discovered that if climate change continues unabated, the glacier could cross a critical threshold within the next century, entering an irreversible period of very rapid retreat.

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Ghana’s coastal erosion: The village buried in sand

Rising sea levels are swallowing up land along the West African coastline at an astonishing rate. The geographical location of Fuveme, in Keta municipality of the Volta region, Ghana, makes it particularly prone to sea erosion. A 2010 study by the World Bank paints a grim picture for the rest of the country.

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Abrupt Sea Level Rise Looms As Increasingly Realistic Threat

Ninety-nine percent of the planet’s freshwater ice is locked up in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Now, a growing number of studies are raising the possibility that as those ice sheets melt, sea levels could rise by six feet this century, and far higher in the next, flooding many of the world’s populated coastal areas.

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Five Pacific islands vanish from sight as sea levels rise

tahiti-sea-level-rise

Five of the Solomon Islands have been swallowed whole by rising sea levels, offering a glimpse into the future of other low-lying nations.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise threatens U.S. historic sites

April 13th, 2016

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?

April 9th, 2016

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

April 5th, 2016

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?

April 5th, 2016

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’

March 30th, 2016

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

March 30th, 2016

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

March 14th, 2016

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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Sea level rise is accelerating; how much it costs is up to us

March 14th, 2016

Important new research shows that sea levels are rising at unprecedented rates, and will have tremendous costs if we don’t slow them.

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This mind-boggling study shows just how massive sea level rise really is

March 12th, 2016

As our planet continues to warm, coastlines worldwide will retreat inland — in the long run, maybe by a lot. It seems doubtful that we can defend all of the many coastal zones that will be at risk. But in a new study just out in the open access journal Earth System Dynamics, scientists have actually published an idea for doing that and provided some calculations regarding the scale of what it would take.

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Nansen Breaking Up with Antarctica

March 9th, 2016

A floating shelf of ice attached to the coast of Antarctica appears ready to shed an iceberg into the Southern Ocean. Over the course of two years, a small crack grew large enough to spread across nearly the entire width of the Nansen Ice Shelf.

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