Monday, January 15, 2007

That sinking feeling over rising seas

For all the arguments about the cause of global warming and whether it makes sense to do anything, there are discrete measurements that scientists have been taking for years gauging the loss of coastal land due to several factors: normal erosion, damaging storms and, yep, sea level rise. We’re reported over the years about how land in the coastal region of North Carolina is disappearing – some 1,250 acres per year, according to calculations by Dr. Stan Riggs at East Carolina University. The shoreline in Northeastern N.C. is receding at a rate of about 2.7 feet per year, he concudes.
So the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change is looking, among many other things, at how coastline changes should affect state policy. They heard some eye-opening descriptions from a number of witnesses last week, including Jeff Williams, a coastal marine geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey center in Woods Hole, Mass.
Williams described how sea level rise due to melting of ice caps and glaciers, and the expansion of warming waters, may double the rate from about eight inches in the past century to perhaps 16 inches in the next 100 years. The USGS has studied what it calls coastal vulnerability and has published several maps online. Here’s a link to the East Coast study . Enlarge that map and note that the red areas denote the highest vulnerability – and note that North Carolina has a lot of red areas.
Here's another link, this one to Cape Hatteras and its vulnerability.
Legislators, take note. Does it make sense to rebuild highways and bridges in those areas?


Anonymous said...

Apparently, very elevated ones.

fed up said...

Take a glass; any size.
Fill it with large ice cubes ( not the small ones or crushed ice ).
Then, fill the glass with water all the way to the top of the rim.

Let it sit undisturbed until all the ice melts.

Then measure how much water leaves the glass.

Its just a small experiment in volume displacement and evaporation.

Lewis guignard said...

As always, those concerned with global warming don't concern themselves with the alternative, global cooling and ice ages. The earth is usually headed one way or the other. 20,000 years ago the sea level was 250 to 300 feet lower than it is now. This was due to the up to 8,000' thick glaciers and ice packs laying across the upper northern hemisphere.

Wrightsville and Myrtle Beach would be miles inland. This is one alternative, and over the last 1 million years, the one which has occured more often than the one we're in.

Then there are those who believe without mans recent influence, the climate would stay the same and the oceans wouldn't rise and fall.

In fact it may be that man's influence has stopped a global cooling which would be just as detrimental to today's geography and economy as warming is said to be.

See "Plows, Plagues and Petroleum" 'How Humans Took Control of the Climate'
by William Ruddiman

fed up said...

Why would you not build roads and bridges when the "threat" is 8-16" of water level rise over 100 years,
averaging 1" every 6 years?

Is our engineering that bad?

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Stivel Velasquez said...

Who hasn’t dreamed of one day living on a far-off island in the South Pacific? Paul Gauguin and Marlon Brando famously found their bliss among the Polynesians. But there is trouble in paradise, especially if you live on an island nation as narrow and flat as Tuvalu, where the average elevation is a mere six feet above sea level. When you live that close to the water’s edge you pay very close attention to the ocean, especially if it begins to rise. And that is what’s happening around Tuvalu, slowly, almost imperceptibly, march madness the sea is rising. The scientific consensus is that global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions and other “greenhouse gases” is causing rising sea levels around the world. Climate change experts predict that over the next hundred years the sea level, on average, will rise between six inches and three feet.

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