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

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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Human Activities Produce More Carbon Dioxide Emissions Than Do Volcanoes

On average, human activities put out in just three to five days, the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that volcanoes produce globally each year.

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Climate change: How do we know?

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. In the meantime, the fate of the only international agreement that sets binding targets for curbing greenhouse gases is hanging by a thread…

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

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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Bangladesh: Finding Sustainable Ways to Cope with Sea Level Rise

November 8th, 2010

As rising sea levels threaten to engulf more land across Bangladesh, NGOs are training thousands of farmers in traditional soil-less farming on water.

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Archaeological Sites and Rising Seas: The Channel Islands’ Region

November 6th, 2010

Coastlines have been magnets of human settlement and contain a rich array of ancient archaeological sites, many of which have never been excavated. The sea has long lashed at the Channel Islands, California, stripping away beaches, slicing off cliff faces and nibbling at hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cultural relics.

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Is climate science disinformation a crime against humanity?

November 2nd, 2010

While it may be reasonable to be somewhat sceptical about climate change models, disinformation about the state of climate change science is extraordinarily, if not criminally, irresponsible, because the consensus scientific view is based upon strong evidence that climate change is already being experienced in the world, and may have potentially harsh effects upon tens of millions of people in the future.

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Troubled Islands: Hurricanes, Oil Spill and Sea Level Rise

October 30th, 2010

The Chandeleur Islands, are remote, tenuous strips of sand that have served as surf breaks for the steadily sinking Biloxi Marsh. Some islands could disappear entirely in coming decades, exposing huge swaths of marshland to the waves of the open sea.

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Arctic Report Card 2010

October 23rd, 2010

In 2006, NOAA’s Climate Program Office introduced the annual Arctic Report Card, which established a baseline of conditions at the beginning of the 21st century to monitor the quickly changing conditions in the Arctic, also called the “planet’s refrigerator.”

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Measuring sea-level rise in the Falklands, 19th-Century Benchmarks Reveal

October 20th, 2010

Sea levels around the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic have risen since the mid nineteenth century and the rate of sea-level rise has accelerated over recent decades.

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Underwater Robot to Explore Antarctic Ice Shelf

October 19th, 2010

Ice shelves are floating platforms of ice that cover almost half of Antarctica’s coastline. Until recently, scientists have had limited ability to access ice-covered waters, and the research team’s use of a high-tech robot aims to change that.

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