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

Easter Island is critically vulnerable to rising ocean levels

Nicholas Casey, a New York Times correspondent based in Colombia, and Josh Haner, a Times photographer, traveled 2,200 miles off the coast of Chile to see how the rising ocean is erasing the island’s monuments.

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Half a degree more global warming could flood out 5 million more people

A new study finds that by 2150, the seemingly small difference between a global temperature increase of 1.5 and 2.0 degrees Celsius would mean the permanent inundation of lands currently home to about 5 million people, including 60,000 who live on small island nations.

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Sinking land will exacerbate flooding from sea level rise in Bay Area

Hazard maps use estimated sea level rise due to climate change to determine flooding risk for today’s shoreline, but don’t take into account that some land is sinking. A precise study of subsidence around San Francisco Bay shows that for conservative estimates of sea level rise, twice the area is in danger of flooding by 2100 than previously thought. Some landfill is sinking 10 mm per year, threatening the airport and parts of Silicon Valley.

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Today’s storm surge is tomorrow’s high tide, new report predicts

For the second time in just five days, the Northeast is facing a major coastal storm, or nor’easter, which is pushing ocean water over storm walls and into the streets of many coastal cities. The flooding comes as a major report released this week by NOAA highlights a growing threat facing coastal communities in all parts of the United States.

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Powerful winter storms show damage high tides with sea level rise can do

With two powerful storms generating record high tides that inundated parts of the Atlantic Coast just weeks apart—and a third nor’easter on its way—environmental advocates are urging greater efforts to address climate change and adapt cities to sea level rise.

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Patterns and projections of high tide flooding along the US coastline using common impact threshold

For forecasting purposes to ensure public safety, NOAA has established three coastal flood severity thresholds. The thresholds are based upon water level heights empirically calibrated to NOAA tide gauge measurements from years of impact monitoring by its Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) and emergency managers.

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Sea level rise threatens to wipe out West Coast wetlands

Rising seas will drown most wetlands on the U.S. West Coast in less than a century, a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey warns. In many areas, the wetlands won’t be able to migrate inland without help.

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The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says

Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.

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Hurricanes are not to blame for most big storm surges in Northeast

Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists. Extratropical cyclones , including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Patterns and projections of high tide flooding along the US coastline using common impact threshold

March 5th, 2018

For forecasting purposes to ensure public safety, NOAA has established three coastal flood severity thresholds. The thresholds are based upon water level heights empirically calibrated to NOAA tide gauge measurements from years of impact monitoring by its Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) and emergency managers.

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Sea level rise threatens to wipe out West Coast wetlands

February 22nd, 2018

Rising seas will drown most wetlands on the U.S. West Coast in less than a century, a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey warns. In many areas, the wetlands won’t be able to migrate inland without help.

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The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says

February 21st, 2018

Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.

Read More

Hurricanes are not to blame for most big storm surges in Northeast

February 15th, 2018

Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists. Extratropical cyclones , including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast.

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New Study Finds Sea Level Rise Accelerating

February 15th, 2018

Global sea level rise is accelerating incrementally over time rather than increasing at a steady rate, as previously thought, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data.

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Satellite observations show sea levels rising, and climate change is accelerating it

February 12th, 2018

Sea level rise is happening now, and the rate at which it is rising is increasing every year, according to a study released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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New Trump Administration Flood Standards Mirror Obama-Era Rules

February 8th, 2018

Six months after President Trump revoked an Obama-era rule mandating that federally funded projects account for future sea level rise and flooding, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that recipients of $7.4 billion in disaster recovery grants must do just that — seemingly representing a reversal of the administration’s stance on climate preparedness.

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Climate change threatens half of US bases worldwide, Pentagon report finds

January 31st, 2018

Nearly half of US military sites are threatened by wild weather linked to climate change, according to a new Pentagon study whose findings run contrary to White House views on global warming.

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On the Chesapeake, A Precarious Future of Rising Seas and High Tides; Video

January 23rd, 2018

Maryland’s Dorchester County is ground zero for climate change on Chesapeake Bay, as rising seas claim more and more land. An e360 video explores the quiet beauty of this liquid landscape and how high tides and erosion are putting the bay’s rural communities at risk.

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As Sea Levels Rise, is the Ocean Floor Sinking?

January 6th, 2018

A team of researchers from Delft University and the University of Tasmania used estimates of mass redistribution concluded that past estimates of sea level rise are too conservative and that to increase their accuracy, the effect of ocean bottom deformation should be taken into account, either based on modeled estimates of ocean mass change, or using more direct observations.

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