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

Surfing in / Sea Level Rise

Arctic Ice Cover Hits Historic Low

The area covered by Arctic sea ice reached it lowest point this week since the start of satellite observations in 1972, German researchers announced on Saturday.

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Kiribati ponders floating island to fight sea rise

The Pacific Islands Forum opened with a passionate plea from Kiribati for help staving off rising seas caused by climate change, as he is considering ideas such as building a floating island…

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Floating Cities: Strategies of Adaptation And Long-Lasting Anticipation ?

Climate change is redefining the rules by which we live and at a pace we never expected. Because of rising sea level, several areas of the globe are in danger of vanishing from the map, disappearing under water. Society must adapt and maybe, one day, live in floating houses. Emerging designs and technologies promote the concept of living with natural flooding instead of resisting it …

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NASA Satellites Detect Pothole on Road to Higher Seas

Like mercury in a thermometer, ocean waters expand as they warm which contributes to drive sea levels higher over the long term. For the past 18 years, the U.S./French Jason-1, Jason-2 and Topex/Poseidon spacecraft have been monitoring the gradual rise of the world’s ocean in response to global warming.This year, continents got extra dose of rain, so much so that global sea levels actually fell over most of the last year.

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Pacific Walruses Studied as Sea Ice Melts

The extent of sea ice has been less in recent summers, and large herds of walruses have been hauling out on beaches in Alaska and Russia in the past few years, forsaking sea ice for sand in what has become a symbol of climate warming. Studies show that In 2010, walruses came ashore in late August, and this year, the sea ice disappeared from the shelf earlier, and walruses have already begun to come ashore.

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Ice-shelf collapse from subsurface warming as a trigger for Heinrich events.

An analysis of prehistoric “Heinrich events”creating mass discharges of icebergs into the North Atlantic Ocean, make it clear that very small amounts of subsurface warming of water can trigger a rapid collapse of ice shelves, scientists say.

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Ancient Tides Quite Different From Today

Geological forces that act over hundreds to millions of years, such as plate tectonics, ice ages, land uplift, erosion and sedimentation, have caused the tides, generally thought to be one of the most predictable forces on Earth, to vary wildly throughout history, according to a new study.

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Unexpected Source of Sea Level Rise Found

Surprising patterns of melting during the last interglacial period suggest that Greenland’s ice may be more stable, and Antarctica’s less stable, than many thought, a new study shows.

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UN climate change conference and the world security

The UN Security Council expressed concern that the possible adverse effects of climate change could aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security and that the loss of territory in some States due to sea-level rise, particularly in small low-lying island States, could have possible security implications.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Sea Level Rise And The World’s Beaches, by Orrin H. Pilkey

January 11th, 2011

Of all the various anticipated impacts of global climate change, sea level rise will likely be the first to produce a human catastrophe on a global scale. If our beaches are to survive for our grandchildren’s enjoyment, the time has come to plan the big withdrawal.

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Bangladesh Sand to Help Keep the Maldives Afloat

January 3rd, 2011

After looking to buy land in other countries, Maldives, one of the lowest countries on the planet, with an average land level of 1.5 metres above sea level, is making a last-ditch effort to avoid its citizens becoming climate refugees. It is importing sand.

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Australia’s Twelve Apostles

December 26th, 2010

The Twelve Apostles is the name given to a collection of natural limestone stacks that rise up to 150ft (46m) from the sea and were formed by erosion of the original coastline, which began 10 to 20 million years ago.The coast is dynamic and as erosion is ongoing, some more stacks are collapsing while other “Apostles” are likely to form from further erosion of other rocky headlands that line the Victorian coastline.

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King Tides Seen as a Model for Rising Seas

December 23rd, 2010

The King Tide Photo Initiative 2010, launched by the British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment in Canada, asks individuals to record the possible impacts of sea level rise by photographing high water level events in B.C.’s coastal areas, to help build a photo library and to offer us a chance to visualize what normal sea levels may look like in the future.

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Sea-level study brings good and bad news to Chesapeake Bay

December 22nd, 2010

A new study of local sea-level trends by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science brings both good and bad news to localities concerned with coastal inundation and flooding along the shores of Chesapeake Bay.

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Magdalen Islands and Shoreline Erosion, Québec

December 19th, 2010

In Québec, shoreline erosion primarily affects the estuarine regions and the Gulf of St-Lawrence that extends from Québec city to the Magdalen Islands.

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Pacific Islands: Duel Between Freshwater and Sea Water

December 18th, 2010

It is said that the first refugees of climate change will come from the Pacific coral islands. Scientists are assessing what will happen to freshwater resources as a consequence of expected changes in the climate and sea level.

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Worsening Coastal Erosion, Québec

December 17th, 2010

A fierce storm and high tides washed away large sections of the shoreline along the St. Lawrence River, leaving homes perilously close to the water’s edge. A State of alert remains as new high tides are expected around December 22nd and 24th.

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Battling Ghana’s Eroding Coastline

December 13th, 2010

For Ghana, the real story of coastal erosion is not about what lies at the water’s edge, but what occurs beneath the waves offshore. In the capital city of Accra, an estimated 70 percent of the beach is eroding at rates exceeding 3 feet per year.

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Climate change still a hard sell, especially when it’s freezing out

December 10th, 2010

The climatic consequences of our actions will fall mostly upon others, in other parts of the world and in that distant country, the future.

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