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
Greater Jakarta, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, sits on a swampy plain and is sinking at a faster rate than any other city in the world.
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Bare trunks of dead coastal forests are being discovered up and down the mid-Atlantic coastline, killed by the advance of rising seas. The “ghost forests,” as scientists call them, offer eerie evidence of some of the world’s fastest rates of sea level rise.
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The numerous atolls that make up the island nation are now regularly swamped due to sea level rise. But as more people flee for the US, many fear their culture will be lost to a country that has already taken so much from them.
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Unknown to many residents and tourists is the potentially pesky fact that property lines for most oceanfront lots extend well onto the dry sand beach.
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Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline are no longer theoretical.
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Can you imagine living in a property that has flooded 10 times? How about 20 times? These properties—and more than 30,000 others that have flooded multiple times—illustrate the current problems of the National Flood Insurance Program and also provide some insights into how challenging it will be to cope with sea level rise, flooding due to extreme weather, as well as other impacts of climate change.
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The cataclysmic 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines masked the full impact of greenhouse gases on accelerating sea level rise, according to a new study.
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The amount of sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean can be used to estimate future global surface temperatures, according to a new report led by University of Arizona geoscientists.
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Residents of a tiny island village in Alaska that has been ravaged by erosion blamed on climate change have voted to move to the mainland, but there likely isn’t enough money for the impoverished community of just 600 people to follow through on the decision.
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