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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Alliance between the Arctic and Tropics

Inuit leaders seek common front against climate warming.

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Last Chance Beach, Battling Erosion in Barbados

Around Barbados, the most serious threat to the beaches is the loss of coral reefs through nearshore pollution, primarily caused by domestic sewage, and physical clearing. As the reefs die, they lose their ability to reduce the energy and erosive force of incoming waves.

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Sundarbans’ Tigers Further Pushed Towards Extinction by Rising Sea Levels

An expected sea level rise of 28 cm above 2000 levels may cause the remaining tiger habitat in the Sundarbans to decline by 96 percent, pushing the total population to fewer than 20 breeding tigers, according to a study.

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Bangladesh’s Project to Develop and Protect Southern Coastal Region

Bangladesh’s coastal area covers about 20% of the country and over thirty percent of the net cultivable area. The saline sea waters have been pushing up inland and progressively more and more areas are meeting a similar fate.

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68 Percent of New England and Mid-Atlantic Beaches Are Eroding

An assessment of coastal change over the past 150 years has found 68 percent of beaches in the New England and Mid-Atlantic region are eroding.

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50 million environmental refugees by 2020, experts say

These are people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with the associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty.

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Rising Seas Will Affect Major U.S. Coastal Cities by 2100

Rising sea levels could threaten an average of 9 percent of the land within 180 U.S. coastal cities by 2100, according to new research led by University of Arizona scientists.

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If Greenhouse Gas Emissions Stopped Now, Earth Would Still Likely Get Warmer

A new research, from the University of Washington, shows that even if all emissions were stopped now, temperatures would remain higher than pre-Industrial Revolution levels because the greenhouse gases already emitted are likely to persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

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Artist and scientist make a natural pair: united, they are an educational force

World-renowned coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey and artist Mary Edna Fraser, an internationally recognized master of the textile art of batik, bring an understanding of coastal geology and global change to the public in a way that is scientifically astute and visually intriguing.

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