Sea level rise accelerating along US coastline, scientists warn

Sea level rise accelerating along US coastline, scientists warn

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: February 3, 2020 SNIP: The pace of sea level rise accelerated at nearly all measurement stations along the US coastline in 2019, with scientists warning some of the bleakest scenarios for inundation and flooding are steadily becoming more likely. Of 32 tide-gauge stations in locations along the vast US coastline, 25 showed a clear acceleration in sea level rise last year, according to researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). The selected measurements are from coastal locations spanning from Maine to Alaska. About 40% of the US population lives in or near coastal areas. The gathering speed of sea level rise is evident even within the space of a year, with water levels at the 25 sites rising at a faster rate in 2019 than in 2018. The highest rate of sea level rise was recorded along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, with Grand Isle, Louisiana, experiencing a 7.93mm annual increase, more than double the global average. The Texas locations of Galveston and Rockport had the next largest sea level rise increases. Generally speaking, the sea level is rising faster on the US east and Gulf coasts compared with the US west coast, partially because land on the eastern seaboard is gradually sinking. Researchers at VIMS said that the current speed-up in sea level rise started around 2013 or 2014 and is probably caused by ocean dynamics and ice sheet loss. Worldwide, sea level rise is being driven by the melting of large glaciers and the thermal expansion of ocean water due to human-induced global heating. The US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration...
When will the Netherlands disappear?

When will the Netherlands disappear?

SOURCE: Politico DATE: December 16, 2019 SNIP: With unprecedented sea level rise forecast as a result of climate change, the Dutch government is racing against the clock to figure out how to keep one of the world’s richest countries from disappearing into the North Sea. In more optimistic scenarios, the feted Dutch dikes, storm barriers, pumps, and adaptations can cope, but at a cost — and even then only up to a point. “On the other end of the spectrum is controlled abandonment, which isn’t nice, because we somehow need to lead 10 million people somewhere,” said Maarten Kleinhans, professor of geosciences and physical geography at Utrecht University. “And as soon as this gets known, as soon as the shit hits the fan, there won’t be any investments anymore and local economies will collapse.” A certain amount of sea rise is already inevitable, set in motion by global warming and ice melting caused by decades of carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that collates and assesses scientific results, predicts 30 to 60 centimeters of sea rise by 2100, even if countries make good on their pledges to cut emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement. The quicker emissions are cut, the lesser the risk of unmanageable rise. But so far, the developed world is failing to meet its targets. If emissions continue on current trends, the IPCC predicts 84 centimeters of sea rise by 2100, and as much as 5.4 meters by 2300. The IPCC has also warned that a rise of more than a meter by 2100 is not unlikely, and advised at-risk...
New projections show that South Florida is in for even more sea level rise

New projections show that South Florida is in for even more sea level rise

SOURCE: Miami Herald DATE: December 4, 2019 SNIP: The timeline for South Florida to prepare for sea level rise just sped up a little. New projections show the region is in for higher seas, faster. The latest predictions aren’t catastrophically different than previous years — unless your yard is already flooding a couple of times a year from the steadily encroaching seas. In that case, a few inches a few years early is pretty important. The sea rise curves unveiled Wednesday at the Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit in Key West tack on about three to five extra inches by 2060, and that number only gets bigger in the future. The region went from expecting between 14 and 26 inches of sea level rise by 2060 — commonly shortened to two feet by 2060 by local leaders — to predicting 17 to 31 inches of sea rise. “These numbers are all big enough that you can see that South Florida gets in big trouble quickly,” said Harold Wanless, a University of Miami professor of geology and member of the projections team. “If you look out the window, like the areas in the Keys that are flooding for weeks on end, this is not something that might happen, this is something that is already happening.“ These new numbers come from a group of more than a dozen scientists, researchers and local government staffers from South Florida as an update to 2015...
Climate Change Is Breaking Open America’s Nuclear Tomb

Climate Change Is Breaking Open America’s Nuclear Tomb

SOURCE: LA Times DATE: November 10, 2019 SNIP: Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs on, in and above the Marshall Islands — vaporizing whole islands, carving craters into its shallow lagoons and exiling hundreds of people from their homes. U.S. authorities later cleaned up contaminated soil on Enewetak Atoll, where the United States not only detonated the bulk of its weapons tests but, as The Times has learned, also conducted a dozen biological weapons tests and dumped 130 tons of soil from an irradiated Nevada testing site. It then deposited the atoll’s most lethal debris and soil into the dome. Now the concrete coffin, which locals call “the Tomb,” is at risk of collapsing from rising seas and other effects of climate change. Tides are creeping up its sides, advancing higher every year as distant glaciers melt and ocean waters rise. The so-called Tomb now bobs with the tide, sucking in and flushing out radioactive water into nearby coral reefs, contaminating marine life. Officials in the Marshall Islands have lobbied the U.S. government for help, but American officials have declined, saying the dome is on Marshallese land and therefore the responsibility of the Marshallese government. “I’m like, how can it [the dome] be ours?” Hilda Heine, the president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, said in an interview in her presidential office in September. “We don’t want it. We didn’t build it. The garbage inside is not ours. It’s theirs.” To many in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Runit Dome is the most visible manifestation of the United States’ nuclear legacy, a...
Scientists looked at sea levels 125,000 years in the past. The results are terrifying

Scientists looked at sea levels 125,000 years in the past. The results are terrifying

SOURCE: The Conversation DATE: November 6, 2019 SNIP: Sea levels rose 10 metres above present levels during Earth’s last warm period 125,000 years ago, according to new research that offers a glimpse of what may happen under our current climate change trajectory. Our paper, published today in Nature Communications, shows that melting ice from Antarctica was the main driver of sea level rise in the last interglacial period, which lasted about 10,000 years. This research shows that Antarctica, long thought to be the “sleeping giant” of sea level rise, is actually a key player. Its ice sheets can change quickly, and in ways that could have huge implications for coastal communities and infrastructure in future. Earth’s cycles consist of both cold glacial periods – or ice ages – when large parts of the world are covered in large ice sheets, and warmer interglacial periods when the ice thaws and sea levels rise. The Earth is presently in an interglacial period which began about 10,000 years ago. But greenhouse gas emissions over the past 200 years have caused climate changes that are faster and more extreme than experienced during the last interglacial. This means past rates of sea level rise provide only low-end predictions of what might happen in future. We examined data from the last interglacial, which occurred 125,000 to 118,000 years ago. Temperatures were up to 1℃ higher than today – similar to those projected for the near future. Our research reveals that ice melt in the last interglacial period caused global seas to rise about 10 metres above the present level. The ice melted first in Antarctica,...