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

Parts of Philippines may submerge due to global warming

More than 167,000 hectares of coastland – about 0.6% of the country’s total area – are projected to go underwater in the Philippines, especially in low-lying island communities.

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Danger from extreme storms, high seas to rise, warn Australian researchers

Storms that battered Australia’s east coast are a harbinger of things to come and a stark reminder of the need for a national effort to monitor the growing threat from climate change, coastal researchers warn.

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Disappearing beaches: a line in the sand

The forces chewing away at the nation’s beaches are only getting worse as climate change fuels rising seas.

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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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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Scientists Improve Maps of Subsidence in New Orleans

May 29th, 2016

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

May 27th, 2016

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

May 18th, 2016

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

May 13th, 2016

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

May 11th, 2016

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

May 9th, 2016

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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Atlantic City Gambles on Rising Seas, NJ

May 4th, 2016

This city’s famous casinos are on high ground, while its poor are in the floodwaters’ path. The people still there “haven’t figured out a way to leave yet,” one lifelong resident says.

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How much does groundwater contribute to sea level rise?

May 2nd, 2016

Groundwater extraction and other land water contribute about three times less to sea level rise than previous estimates, according to a new study. The study does not change the overall picture of future sea level rise, but provides a much more accurate understanding of the interactions between water on land, in the atmosphere, and the oceans.

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A warning for Miami, Miami Beach

April 26th, 2016

Scientists warn that we live in a “doomed city” in new book on climate change. “Retreat From a Rising Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change,” is an effort to explain the science for a lay reader. It is clear and authoritative and for South Florida, it is urgent.

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Facebook, Google campuses at risk of being flooded due to sea level rise

san francisco bay

April 23rd, 2016

Technology giants including Facebook and Google face the prospect of their prestigious Silicon Valley headquarters becoming swamped by water as rising sea levels threaten to submerge much of the property development boom gripping San Francisco and the Bay Area.

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