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

Australia Carbon Pollution Tax Announcement: A Start!

Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard, is on Sunday due to unveil the full detail of her carbon tax legislation, which will see the country’s top 500 polluters charged per tonne of carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere.

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Our Expanding Oceans, and Global Climate Change: A Primer

Our Expanding Oceans exhibit is based on a new book, “Global Climate Change: A Primer,” written by renowned climate scientist Orrin Pilkey and son Keith Pilkey. To visually emphasize the effects of climate change, the book is illustrated with Mary Edna Fraser’s striking batik paintings. The exhibit featuring over 50 batiks on silk, opened at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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Average U.S. temperature increases by 0.5 degrees F

The climate of the 2000s is about 1.5 degree F warmer than the 1970s.

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Islands Going Under, The Carteret Islands

The Carteret Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea are drowning… What should have been an idyllic South Pacific paradise, is rapidly turning into a climate change disaster site.

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Study details significant sea level rise


Since the late 19th century, sea level has risen by more than 2 millimeters per year on average, the steepest rate for more than 2,100 years. The new study does not predict the future, yet it does show “there is a very close link between sea level and temperature. So for the 21st century when temperatures will rise, so will sea level.”

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Voices for Change, Sydney Australia

“Billions of people will be affected by impacts of climate change… One of them is you.”

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Cuba: Sea levels to rise more than 30 in. by 2100

Cuban scientists warn that right now it is urgent to preserve mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass and sand beaches. Each of these ecosystems is a natural barrier to defend the coasts from the impact of climate change and sea level rise. Most of the 400 beaches of Cuba’s territory are affected by erosion with a receding coastline estimated at 1.2 meters per year.

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2011 Ashden Awards international finalists, in pictures

Eight sustainable energy pioneers from Africa and Asia have been selected as international finalists for the prestigious Ashden Awards for sustainable energy 2011.

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One million Bangladesh Homes on Solar Power

The number of households in electricity-starved Bangladesh using solar panels has crossed the one million mark, the fastest expansion of solar use in the world.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

The Last house of Sinking Chesapeake Bay Island

November 27th, 2010

The story was strange enough to be a child’s fable: In an isolated section of the Chesapeake Bay, there was a two-story Victorian house that seemed to emerge directly from the water. And, scurrying around it, there was a retiree, trying to keep the house from falling in.

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Cancún must be about more than climate change

November 27th, 2010

Our planet is finite, our fates are intertwined, our choice is clear: stand together or fall divided.

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Bangladesh and Maldives: Sand Export Deal in Sight

November 26th, 2010

Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed expressed keenness to import sand from Bangladesh, as his country would be inundated if the sea level rises by only a metre.

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Sinking Sundarbans: A Photo Gallery by Peter Caton, Greenpeace

November 23rd, 2010

The seas around the islands in the Bay of Bengal that support a unique mangrove ecosystem, are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth, and the lives and livelihoods of more than 4 million residents are under threat from rising waters.

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From the East and West Coasts, a Game Plan on Sea Level Rise

November 22nd, 2010

New York State and California are creating blueprints for how governments should plan, and pay for, a wholesale retreat from the shoreline in anticipation of a possible rise in sea level of three or four feet or more by 2100.

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As world warms, negotiators give talks another try

November 21st, 2010

The disappointment of Copenhagen, the failure of the annual U.N. conference to produce a climate agreement last year in the Danish capital, has raised doubts about whether the long-running, 194-nation talks can ever agree on a legally binding treaty for reining in global warming.

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As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas

November 20th, 2010

Researchers have recently been startled to see big changes unfold in both Greenland and Antarctica. The question is not whether the earth’s land ice is melting in response to the greenhouse gases people are generating, but whether it will happen much too fast for society to adjust.

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Kiribati Conference: Voices From the South Pacific – Part II

November 19th, 2010

At only four metres above sea level, the small island nation of Kiribati is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. Kiribati’s Tarawa Climate Change Conference (TCCC) ended by giving birth to the Ambo Declaration.

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The view From Beneath The Waves

November 10th, 2010

Rising sea levels are devouring the low-lying lands of the Solomon Islands, with crops failing and lands disappearing. Away from the international conferences and negotiations, climate change and rising sea are a matter of life and death here. The time to act is now.

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Kiribati Conference: Voices From the South Pacific

November 9th, 2010

About 40 officials from around the world flew to the tiny atoll nation of Kiribati, a chain of low-lying South Pacific islands, to attend a conference addressing the impacts of climate change on some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

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