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


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The Last house of Sinking Chesapeake Bay Island

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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