California will face a terrible choice: Save cliff-side homes or public beaches from rising seas

California will face a terrible choice: Save cliff-side homes or public beaches from rising seas

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: July 11, 2018 SNIP: Like an ax slowly chopping at the trunk of a massive tree, waves driven by sea-level rise will hack away the base of cliffs on the Southern California coast at an accelerated pace, a recent study says, increasing land erosion that could topple some bluffs and thousands of homes sitting atop them. California officials from Santa Barbara to San Diego will face an awful choice as the sea rises, the U.S. Geological Survey study says: save public beaches enjoyed by millions, or close them off with boulders and concrete walls to armor the shore and stop the waves in a bid to save homes. The study predicts coastal land loss on an unimaginable scale over the remaining century, up to 135 feet beyond the existing shoreline. “For the highest sea-level rise scenario, taking an average cliff height of more than 25 meters, the total cliff volume loss would be more than 300 million meters by 2100,” it says. One of the study’s authors, Patrick Barnard, a USGS research geologist, tried to explain the issue in a way that laypeople can understand. “It’s a huge volume of material,” he said. “We place this in a context of dump truck loads. It would be 30 million dump trucks full of material that will be eroded from the cliffs.” The trucks would stretch around the globe multiple times, he said. According to the statement’s synopsis of the study, “Without the supply of sand from eroding cliffs, beaches in southern California may not survive rising sea levels — and bluff-top development may not withstand the...
Sinking into the sea: The coastline of the Northwest Territories is  eroding faster than scientists can measure it

Sinking into the sea: The coastline of the Northwest Territories is eroding faster than scientists can measure it

SOURCE: CBC News DATE: October 13, 2017 SNIP: In late August, the temperature of the Beaufort Sea hovers just above 10 degrees Celsius. For some people, the first steps into the water might be invigorating, but if you linger, it becomes stingingly painful — which is why Dustin Whalen came prepared with large rubber chest waders. This was not a personal mission to dip a toe in chilly Arctic waters and come away with photographic proof. On the contrary, the federal government scientist was looking for a time-lapse camera, one of three that met a watery end by the very forces they were meant to capture: rapid erosion on what may be the world’s fastest-disappearing island. “This is our third year trying, and as of today, this is our third year failing,” said Whalen, who works for Natural Resources Canada. “We really can’t predict just how the island will change.” Pelly, the island in question, lies about 100 kilometres northwest of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., a hamlet largely known for its remoteness. The average rate of erosion for an island in this area is about 1.5 metres a year. What they have found on Pelly is that it’s washing away by as much as 40 metres each...
As coral reefs die, huge swaths of the seafloor are deteriorating along with them

As coral reefs die, huge swaths of the seafloor are deteriorating along with them

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: April 20, 2017 SNIP: U.S. government scientists have found a dramatic impact from the continuing decline of coral reefs: The seafloor around them is eroding and sinking, deepening coastal waters and exposing nearby communities to damaging waves that reefs used to weaken. “We knew that coral reefs were degrading, but we didn’t really know how much until we did this study,” said USGS oceanographer Kimberly Yates, the lead study author. “We didn’t really realize until now that they’re degrading enough that it’s actually affecting the rest of the seafloor as well.” “Erosion of coral reefs and seafloor is happening much more and much faster than what was previously known or expected, enough so that it’s affecting those local sea level rises,” said Yates. “Enough so that it increases the risk to the coastlines from coastal hazards, storm waves, every day persistent waves, tsunamis and those kinds of...