Letting the Sea Have Its Way – Hakai Magazine
Welcome to Selsey, a community that welcomed back the marsh.
On May 10, a four-bedroom house perched on the beach of a North Carolina barrier island in the town of Rodanthe collapsed into the ocean. It was not the victim of a violent hurricane strike or storm surge. Rather, a low-pressure system coupled with a high tide drew ocean waves onto the shoreline, leaving heaps of sand on the prophetically named Ocean Drive. Then—in that viral video moment—the water gently pulled the house loose and set it to bob upon the sea. It was not the first house—this year! that day!—nor will it be the last.
This is reality in the 21st century…
New York City Is Sinking under Its Own Weight – Scientific American
The weight of New York City’s 1.1 million buildings is making the city slowly sink.
Home to 8.8 million people as of 2020, New York City is by far the most populous city in the U.S. And the mass of the buildings needed to support all those residents—and the work they do—really adds up. New research published on May 8 in Earth’s Future suggests that the weight of the city itself is pressing down on the land it occupies and contributing to local sea-level rise that increases flood risks…
Long Story Shorts: What is the Biggest Migration on Earth? – Hakai Institute
Every day, trillions of animals in the ocean play the biggest game of hide-and-seek … and the losers get eaten. This daily commute is called diel vertical migration, and you’ve probably never heard of it—until now….
Nearly 90% of Hanauma Bay’s beach could disappear by 2030, says UH study – Hawaii Public Radio
A new study from the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is predicting most of Hanauma Bay’s beach will be underwater for a few days in 2030.
Researchers used models to show the impact of sea-level rise at the bay. They combined the lowest predicted rise of six inches with the island’s seasonal King Tides, when waves splash higher on the shore higher than normal.
It forecasts that 88% of the bay’s usable beach, or sandy portions, would be submerged in 2030.
“This is only during peak high tide to king tides that we experienced,” said Andrew Graham, a graduate assistant to the study.
“So it’s not going to be something that people have to worry about all the time. It’s just going to be a couple days a year, where the surf will come up to near the grass — which may increase crowding at the beach,” Graham said.
Kuʻulei Rodgers, the study’s lead researcher, said that six inches of sea-level rise can have a significant impact on the environment.
“This can equate to tens, even hundreds, of feet inland because you’re looking at the slope. So one meter of sea level rise vertically can equate to a lot more on the coastline,” Rodgers said.
The finding is part of a broader study that looks at the nature preserve’s ability to withstand damage from recreational, biological and physical uses — a concept known as carrying capacity. Researchers hope the study will help improve management and conservation efforts within the preserve.
The team has been conducting carrying capacity surveys at Hanauma Bay for the past five years…
What is the Tragedy of the Commons? – TED Ed
Is it possible that overfishing, super germs, and global warming are all caused by the same thing? In 1968, a man named Garrett Hardin sat down to write an essay about overpopulation. Within it, he discovered a pattern of human behavior that explains some of history’s biggest problems. Nicholas Amendolare describes the tragedy of the commons…
“Dr. Beach” unveils his Top 10 Beaches in the US – CNN Travel
Florida’s St. George Island State Park earns the top slot. The barrier island park offers nine miles of pristine beaches along the Gulf Coast. With nature trails for biking and hiking, plus birding, fishing, boating and camping…excellent swimming and sunbathing. It’s also a prime spot for stargazing with limited light pollution and an observation platform for night sky exploration. The beach has “some of the whitest, finest sand in the world,” said (Stephen) Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach)…“The water is crystal clear and clean, far from any sources of pollution on this offshore barrier island…”
Buying out threatened oceanfront homes is not a crazy idea – Coastal Review
The oceanfront shoreline of Rodanthe has one of the highest erosion rates on the U.S. East Coast (recently upwards of 20 feet per year). Many homes that were initially constructed well back from the beach are now at risk of constant flooding and imminent collapse. A typical response to this erosion in Dare County (and most coastal communities) would be the implementation of a beach nourishment project. It is unclear whether this is practical for Rodanthe, as the geologic setting is problematic…
Global heating has likely made El Niños and La Niñas more ‘frequent and extreme’ – the Guardian
Scientists say greenhouse gases have already affected climate patterns in the Pacific that could lead to more severe weather, floods and heatwaves
Global heating has likely intensified a climate pattern in the Pacific since the 1960s that has driven extreme droughts, floods and heatwaves around the globe, according to a new study.
The scientists said they had shown for the first time that greenhouse gas emissions were likely already making El Niños and La Niñas more severe.
The shifts in ocean temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the Pacific – known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (Enso) – affect weather patterns around the globe, threatening food supplies, spreading disease and impacting societies and ecosystems.
Scientists have struggled to work out if adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere – trapping enormous amounts of heat in the ocean – has already changed Enso.
But because the system has natural swings spanning decades and actual observations have been too sparse, the scientists looked instead at more than 40 models of the climate, analysed in several ways.
Dr Wenju Cai, lead author of the study from Australia’s CSIRO science agency, said the models showed a “human fingerprint” from 1960 onwards.
This meant climate change had likely made both El Niños and La Niñas “more frequent and more extreme,” he said.
But some other scientists not involved in the study had reservations about the findings, raising concerns about the reliance on modelling.
The study has been in the works for five years, and Cai said it showed “we are experiencing a vastly different climate to that of the distant past” and would help scientists understand how Enso will change in the future “given sea surface temperatures are continuing to increase”…
Long Story Shorts: What is a Coastal Geohazard? – Hakai Institute
Life can be pretty hazardous if you live on the coast—on top of wild weather events like hurricanes and tropical storms, you might find yourself in the middle of geological hazards like earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides. But did you know that one geohazard can domino into another, creating a cascade of chaos?…