Sea Level Rise
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
To really understand what climate change could mean for coastal areas, photos really do the trick.
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If, as suggested by a comprehensive new review in the journal Science, 2°C of global warming will lock in at least 20 feet (6 meters) of eventual sea level rise, what would 2°C of warming (3.6°F) mean for the future and heritage of global nations and cities?
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At one pristine coastal spot in the Waikato, less than $100,000 can buy you a tidy, three-bedroom bach. The catch is, the sea may steal the land underneath it at some point in the future.
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At their recent summit in Germany, G7 leaders agreed to limit global warming to 2°C, but along Senegal’s coast, the consequences of climate change are already tangible. The coastline is suffering severe land loss due to erosion.
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A couple of unexplained large scale changes in the waters off the northeast coast of the U.S. have oceanographers perplexed: an accelerated rate of sea level rise compared to most other parts of the world; and the disturbing signs of collapsing fisheries in the region.
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Hundreds of miles of British coastline – so long the symbol of this nation’s island story – are collapsing through worsening erosion. A report by the National Trust (NT) later this year is expected to warn that more action will be needed to protect threatened sites.
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We’re talking about the future here, so estimates vary by source, but the bottom line is this: Our actions today will create the world future generations will have to inhabit. Here’s a look at some of the scariest data about how much ocean levels could rise, and when.
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Located on the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Larsen B remnant is about 1,600 square kilometers (625 square miles) in area and as much as 500 meters (1,640 feet) thick. This last remaining section of Larsen B Ice Shelf, which partially collapsed in 2002, is weakening and is likely to disintegrate completely before the end of the decade.
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In Greenland, scientists who wish to understand ice loss will follow the water. Greenland mass loss is rising exponentially and leading to higher sea level rise. A video by Yale Climate Forum.
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