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

Here’s why private property can become the public’s beach, NC

Unknown to many residents and tourists is the potentially pesky fact that property lines for most oceanfront lots extend well onto the dry sand beach.

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Flooding of coast caused by global warming, has already begun

Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline are no longer theoretical.

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Thousands of Homes Keep Flooding, Yet They Keep Being Rebuilt Again

Can you imagine living in a property that has flooded 10 times? How about 20 times? These properties—and more than 30,000 others that have flooded multiple times—illustrate the current problems of the National Flood Insurance Program and also provide some insights into how challenging it will be to cope with sea level rise, flooding due to extreme weather, as well as other impacts of climate change.

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Volcanic eruption masked acceleration in sea level rise

The cataclysmic 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines masked the full impact of greenhouse gases on accelerating sea level rise, according to a new study.

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Pacific sea level predicts global temperature changes

The amount of sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean can be used to estimate future global surface temperatures, according to a new report led by University of Arizona geoscientists.

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Climate change prompts Shishmaref, Alaska, to vote for mainland move

Residents of a tiny island village in Alaska that has been ravaged by erosion blamed on climate change have voted to move to the mainland, but there likely isn’t enough money for the impoverished community of just 600 people to follow through on the decision.

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Before-and-after aerial shots show dramatic WA beach erosion

Arresting aerial imagery has revealed both the beauty and instability of Western Australia’s coast, showing properties under threat from the Coral Coast to Perth.

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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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Recent / Sea Level Rise

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

July 27th, 2016

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.

Read More

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

July 11th, 2016

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…

Read More

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

July 7th, 2016

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

June 30th, 2016

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

June 30th, 2016

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

June 25th, 2016

“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

June 22nd, 2016

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

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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