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


Surfing in / Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise a big issue for military in Hampton Roads, science says

A new Union of Concerned Scientists study evaluated the risks of climate-induced inundation at a sample of 18 military bases on the East and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Flooding and storm surge at Langley and other coastal military installations will only get worse — maybe a lot worse.

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In NC, dangerous delays and delusions on sea-level rise; Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey

Sea-level rise is upon us, and in the near future we will be forced to retreat from the shoreline. North Carolina has chosen the impossible path of holding the shoreline in place, locking the next generation into a future filled with catastrophic loss of property and human lives…

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Water world: rising tides close in on Trump, the climate change denier

Climate change has barely registered as a 2016 campaign issue, but in Florida, the state which usually decides the presidential election, the waters are lapping at the doors of Donald Trump’s real estate empire.

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As sea level rises, Hudson River wetlands may expand

In the face of climate change impact and inevitable sea level rise, scientists studying New York’s Hudson River estuary have forecast new tidal wetlands, comprising perhaps 33 percent more wetland area by the year 2100.

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Unable to Endure Rising Seas, Alaskan Villages Stuck in Limbo

A number of Alaska Native villages have been impacted so severely by these climate-induced threats, they have decided to relocate. Yet there is no agency designated to pay for and help implement an entire community’s move.

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Rising Tides: a new award-winning documentary from J. Lazarus Auerbach and Scott Duthie

“Rising Tides” explores the topic of coastline erosion, showing what has been done in the past, what is being done now, what worked, what didn’t and what the coastal areas can expect in the future.

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Turning tides: a glimpse into our future with rising sea levels

For most people seeing is believing. Sea levels are rising, and the number of coastal flood days has increased dramatically. Unlike the drought, it is difficult to understand what future sea level rise will look like for our coastline.

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We can’t ignore the rising sea; By Orrin H. Pilkey

In the U.S., North Carolina stands alone in doing basically nothing of consequence in sea level rise planning and even discourages state employees from mentioning global climate change. Instead, the response of North Carolina has been to hold the shoreline in place at great cost and even encourage further development…

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Parts of Philippines may submerge due to global warming

More than 167,000 hectares of coastland – about 0.6% of the country’s total area – are projected to go underwater in the Philippines, especially in low-lying island communities.

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Recent / Sea Level Rise

We can’t ignore the rising sea; By Orrin H. Pilkey

June 18th, 2016

In the U.S., North Carolina stands alone in doing basically nothing of consequence in sea level rise planning and even discourages state employees from mentioning global climate change. Instead, the response of North Carolina has been to hold the shoreline in place at great cost and even encourage further development…

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Parts of Philippines may submerge due to global warming

June 15th, 2016

More than 167,000 hectares of coastland – about 0.6% of the country’s total area – are projected to go underwater in the Philippines, especially in low-lying island communities.

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Danger from extreme storms, high seas to rise, warn Australian researchers

June 11th, 2016

Storms that battered Australia’s east coast are a harbinger of things to come and a stark reminder of the need for a national effort to monitor the growing threat from climate change, coastal researchers warn.

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Disappearing beaches: a line in the sand

June 7th, 2016

The forces chewing away at the nation’s beaches are only getting worse as climate change fuels rising seas.

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Antarctic coastline images reveal four decades of ice loss to ocean

June 4th, 2016

A study of images along 2000km of West Antarctica’s coastline has shown the loss of about 1000km2 of ice – an area equivalent to the city of Berlin – over the past 40 years. Researchers were surprised to find that the region has been losing ice for such a length of time. Their findings will help improve estimates of global sea level rise caused by ice melt.

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Nearly 7 million US homes at hurricane risk this season: Report

June 4th, 2016

More than 6.8 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of damage from hurricane storm surges, with a total reconstruction cost value of more than $1.5 trillion, according to CoreLogic’s 2016 Storm Surge Report.

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Rising seas put brakes on developers’ march toward the ocean, SC

June 2nd, 2016

The South Carolina House just passed a bill that will close a loophole in state law that has allowed new construction closer to the ocean when renourishment projects temporarily widen the seashore. The lower chamber’s action is considered a significant, long-term step to prevent construction farther out on the beach at a time of rising sea levels.

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Scientists Improve Maps of Subsidence in New Orleans

May 29th, 2016

New Orleans and its surrounding areas continue to sink at highly variable rates due to a combination of natural geologic processes and human activity, according to a new study using NASA airborne radar.

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The First Official Climate Refugees in the U.S. Race Against Time

May 27th, 2016

A Native American tribe struggles to hold on to their culture in a Louisiana bayou while their land slips into the Gulf of Mexico.

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Scientists predict extensive ice loss from huge Antarctic glacier

May 18th, 2016

Current rates of climate change could trigger instability in a major Antarctic glacier, ultimately leading to more than 2m of sea-level rise. By studying the history of Totten’s advances and retreats, researchers have discovered that if climate change continues unabated, the glacier could cross a critical threshold within the next century, entering an irreversible period of very rapid retreat.

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