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

Climate Change Impacts in China

The received wisdom used to be that climate change would have relatively little impact on China. But that views seems outdated.

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Australian Sea levels Set To Rise By Up To a Metre: Report

Sea levels will rise by more than three feet by the end of the century making severe coastal flooding a common factor of life in Australia if urgent action is not taken to limit climate change, a key report by a panel of climate scientists has found.

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Seismic Shift? As Bahamas islands Sink, One Island Mysteriously Rises

All the islands in the Bahamas were thought to be slowly sinking, but now scientists made a surprise discovery of recent tectonic activity in a region that was up to now considered stable, finding one quirky isle going against the crowd.

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Seaports Need a Plan for Weathering Climate Change, Researchers Say

A warming planet means rising oceans, but the majority of seaports around the world are unprepared for the potentially damaging impacts of climate change in the coming century, according to a new Stanford University study.

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Renewables key for climate, world energy supply: IPCC

Renewable energy could meet nearly 80 percent of the world’s energy needs by mid-century and play a crucial role in fighting global warming, the UN’s climate scientists said Monday in a major report.

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Vatican Science Panel Calls Attention to the Threat of Glacial Melt

A panel of some of the world’s leading climate and glacier scientists co-chaired by a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researcher issued a report commissioned by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences citing the moral imperative before society to properly address climate change.

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After a Three-decade Hiatus, Sea-level Rise May Return to the West Coast

The West Coast of North America has caught a break that has left sea level in the eastern North Pacific Ocean steady during the last few decades, but there is evidence that a change in wind patterns may be occurring that could cause coastal sea-level rise to accelerate beginning this decade.

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The Coming Storm

The people of Bangladesh have much to teach us about how a crowded planet can best adapt to rising sea levels. For them, that future is now.

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Report: Hurricanes Pose Risk to 1.8M US Coastal Homes

More than 1.8 million homes along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts are at great risk of being damaged by a hurricane, three times the number located in federally defined flood zones, according to a report released Tuesday.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

Lagos Expansion Into Atlantic Ocean, Nigeria

October 5th, 2010

By 2016, Lagos will get a new city to be built on nine million square metres of reclaimed land about 2.4 kilometres into the Atlantic Ocean, south of Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island.

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Global Groundwater Depletion Leads to Sea Level Rise

October 4th, 2010

Scientists have conducted a global assessment on the current large-scale abstraction of groundwater worldwide, and the effect of groundwater depletion on sea level rise, with remarkable results.

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New York Seas to Rise Twice as Much as Rest of U.S.

October 2nd, 2010

Sea levels around New York City and much of the U.S. Northeast will rise twice as much as in other parts of the United States this century, according to new climate models.

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Palau, at risk from rising seas, aims to drill for oil

September 29th, 2010

Many island nations around the world are looking for creative solutions to a pending crisis, predicted boosts in sea level, associated with climate change. Analysts though, question why the World Bank is helping Palau develop fossil fuel resources when the island’s very existence is threatened by the burning of them.

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Melting sea ice forces walruses ashore in Alaska


September 14th, 2010

Massive super-herds of walrus are being forced onto dry land because of a lack of sea ice, the World Wildlife Fund reports. Discovery News UGC video shows an estimated 10,000 animals gathered in Point Lay, Alaska. This massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States.

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New York City and Risk of Higher Seas

September 12th, 2010

Sea level may rise faster near New York than at most other densely populated ports, thus it has become an urban experiment in the ways that seaboard cities can adapt to climate change over the next century.

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Coral Reef and Planet’s Changing Sea Levels

September 10th, 2010

By studying ancient coral, scientists are hoping to put together the most accurate picture yet of how sea levels have changed over thousands of years.

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Barrier islands and sea-level rise

September 5th, 2010

Over the next 100 years, according to recent estimates, we should expect 5 to 6 feet of sea-level rise.

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In Low-Lying Bangladesh, The Sea Takes a Human Toll

August 27th, 2010

Danish photographer and filmmaker Jonathan Bjerg Møller recently spent nine months in Bangladesh, chronicling the lives of people struggling to survive just a few feet above sea level.

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Sea Level to Rise Even With Aggressive Geo-Engineering

August 25th, 2010

150 million people could be affected as ocean levels increases by 30cm to 70cm by the end of this century.

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