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

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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Seas could rise up to 1.6 meters by 2100: New Report

Quickening climate change in the Arctic including a thaw of Greenland’s ice could raise world sea levels by up to 1.6 meters by 2100, an international report showed on Tuesday. The study is yet another reminder of how pressing it has become to tackle climate change.

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Sea Level Rise Could Turn New York Into Venice

Higher sea levels will give severe storms much more water to funnel toward the city. A lot of New York City is less than 16 feet above mean sea level,” he said. “Lower Manhattan, some points are five feet above sea level. These areas are vulnerable and New York City knows it.

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Nauru use UN spotlight to confront developed world over climate change

The smallest nation in the UN is about to take the AOSIS chair at a time when low-lying coastal countries are gravely threatened. Nauru is among the islands most threatened by rising sea levels and its economy has been almost wholly dependent on phosphate, which has led to environmental catastrophe on the island, with 80% of the nation’s surface having been strip-mined.

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Melting Ice on Arctic Islands a Major Player in Sea Level Rise

Melting glaciers and ice caps on Canadian Arctic islands play a much greater role in sea level rise than scientists previously thought.

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Endangered places around the world

In celebration of Earth Day, Gaute Hogh, publisher of the book 100 Places to Go Before They Disappear, was interviewed. The book features 100 photographs from one hundred different places around the world in risk of disappearing or seriously threatened by climate change.

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Arctic’s Icy Coastlines Retreat as Planet Warms

The coastline in Arctic regions reacts to climate change with increased erosion and retreats by half a metre per year on average. Less sea ice means more open water, which means stronger waves generated by wind. These, in combination with warming temperatures and more storms, mean more erosion of coastlines. Rising sea levels are also expected to enhance erosion.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

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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Kingscliff Battles Beach Erosion, Australia

August 24th, 2010

Coastal residents fear their idyllic seaside town may never be restored to its former glory after the besieged coastline just copped further battering.

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Erosion doubles along Alaska’s Arctic coast:: Cultural and Historical Sites Lost

August 2nd, 2010

Around the world, as many as 150 million people may become “climate refugees” because of global warming, according to an Environmental Justice Foundation report, which attributes some of the moves to rising sea levels.

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Indian Ocean Sea Level Rise Threatens Millions

July 22nd, 2010

Indian Ocean sea levels are rising unevenly and threatening residents in some densely populated coastal areas, particularly those along the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, and Java.

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Sea carves new island from Prince Edward Island shore

July 20th, 2010

The sea carved a channel about 100 metres wide through the five-kilometre stretch of sand dunes, cutting it roughly in half.

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A 500 million euros Plan to strengthen levees in France

July 14th, 2010

Four and a half months after the disaster caused by storm Xynthia, the french “Plan Digues” is presented.

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How High Will Seas Rise? Get Ready for Seven Feet

May 25th, 2010

As governments, businesses, and homeowners plan for the future, they should assume that the world’s oceans will rise by at least two meters, roughly seven feet, this century. But far too few agencies or individuals are preparing for the inevitable increase in sea level that will take place as polar ice sheets melt.

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La Faute-sur-Mer and l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer beaches, Vendée, France; By Claire Le Guern


April 1st, 2010

The main attractions of the coastal towns besides the beaches are the Nature Reserve, and the off shore mussel farms. Not anymore.

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Disputed isle in Bay of Bengal

disappearing island

March 24th, 2010

For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal.

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