Infographic: Global Sea Level Rise Projections and Risk to the U.S.A.
A 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey determined that sea levels along the East Coast will rise three to four times faster than the global average. The study named Norfolk, New York City, and Boston as the three metro areas most vulnerable to the devastating effects of rising sea levels—ranging from the dramatic increase in storm surge, as winds scoop up water from the sea and dump more of it farther from the coast than ever before, to the steady erosion of roads, buildings, and arable soil as seawater creeps inland.
Posts tagged coastal planning.
An overview of a large adaptation project in Tanzania. The project is headed by USAID, URI’s Coastal Resources Center, and local organizations in Tanzania.
Climate Change Adaptation for Tanzania’s Coastal Villages
The Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island collaborates with USAID and other partners to carry out natural hazard and climate change vulnerability assessments, put adaptation measures into place and share lessons about what works and what needs to be done.
Practical approaches being used right now by our colleagues in several different coastal countries to manage risk and take no-regrets actions to increase their resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Pwani Project carried out by the Tanzania Coastal Management Partnership is helping coastal communities assess climate change impacts and find ways to adapt using their own resources and knowledge.
Village Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Change Adaptation Planning: www.crc.uri.edu
Adapting to Coastal Climate Change: A Guidebook for Development Planners: www.usaid.gov/adapt
Leaders in New York and New Jersey have been warned for years, after all, that their highly developed coastal areas were vulnerable to rising seas. And despite the bold talk of massive infrastructure improvements in the direct aftermath of the storm called Sandy, Cote wonders if the nation’s famously short memory will prove a barrier now.
From my interview with the prolific journalist Tom Zeller, Jr. of Huffington Post, “Hurricane Sandy Challenges Short-Term Thinking On Nation’s Coasts.”
“Politicians, they are short-term thinkers,” Cote said. “They think in the short-term needs of the public, and there’s not much visionary thinking.”
“And that,” he added, “is highly risky.
Now that’s how you do rip rap! Rip rap is an important coastal design feature that holds back the sea. It helps prevent beach erosion, protecting coastal communities. Especially good for cities to adapt to sea level rise from climate change. This is an example of some really pretty design.
General Maister Memorial Park in Slovenia.
Low-lying coastal city Shanghai literally means “above the sea.” Yet Chinese officials deny it is most prone to flooding.
The city of 20 million has spent billions of dollars on flood-reinforcement. It’s a low-lying coastal city and is one of the most threatened cities in the world to sea level rise from climate change. Now, a new study shows that the city is more vulnerable than ever. Like clockwork, Chinese officials quickly disavowed the report’s findings, stating that the report did not include new infrastructure investments. While China continues its public denial, they’re spending billions more in infrastructure improvements to help keep the sea at bay.
Shanghai is also sinking. It has sunk 2.5 meters since the early 1900s due to soft soils and China’s insistence on concentrating skyscrapers and other massive buildings.
Exposed to powerful storms, high levels of river discharge, rising sea levels and serious land subsidence, when it comes to coastal flooding, Shanghai is the world’s most vulnerable city.
That’s according to a report by researchers from the Netherlands and UK who studied nine coastal cities around the world.
Dhaka in Bangladesh came in second, while Manila and Calcutta tied for third place.
In response, the Shanghai flood control department points out the study did not take into account the flood prevention measures it has in place.
Hu Xin, deputy director, Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters, said: “On the other hand, we should see that Shanghai has defensive measures in place, such as flood control walls and a city drainage system. I feel that these can basically protect the safety of Shanghai.”
Land subsidence is a major challenge for Shanghai. The city has sunk as much as 2.5 metres over the past century amidst massive urbanisation with increased demand for high rise buildings and underground excavation projects.
To keep that in check, the city government is planning to issue new regulations. All excavation projects will soon be legally required to go through a risk assessment before they can proceed.
China has seen a record number of typhoons and heavy rains this year, with unprecedented frequency and intensity.
And climate change is forecast to further exacerbate the problem, being responsible for a 10 per cent to 20 per cent increase in the number of typhoons in future.
So Shanghai cannot afford to take these warnings lightly.
The incredible economic boom it experienced over the last few decades increases the likelihood for massive financial losses due to ravaging floods - losses that will have widespread consequences for both Shanghai and the world economy.
Yang Dian Hai, Vice Dean, Tongji University College of Environmental Science and Engineering, said: “We have to continue to invest in flood control facilities along the Huangpu river and other coastal regions, as well as our drainage system, to minimise the impact of typhoons and heavy rain.”
Extra measures have also been taken to protect areas of high population density as well as economic projects such as Disneyland which is still under construction.
And compared to the previous five years, the period from 2011 to 2015 will see investment in anti-flooding facilities doubling to nearly US$16 billion.
Map via Sea Level Rise Explorer
See also, NYTimes excellent article, “Shanghai Struggles to Save Itself from the Sea.”
“We are now in uncharted territory,”
New sea ice is finally starting to form again in the Arctic, scientists reported Wednesday, but not before reaching another record low last Sunday.
“We are now in uncharted territory,” Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said in a statement announcing the record low of 1.32 million square miles — nearly half the average extent from 1979 to 2010. The extent has been tracked by satellite since 1979.
Sea level has risen by about eight inches overall worldwide since around 1900 and the waters are expected to rise an estimated three feet by 2100. “Sometimes we forget that the damage in New Orleans in 2005 from Hurricane Katrina came not from wind or rain, but from the storm surge [that caused flooding] ahead of that storm,” Lemonick says. If sea levels rise as expected, “all of those storm surges are going to be starting from a level three feet higher, which means that they have much greater potential to drive inland, to wash over barrier islands, and to really inundate the coast. … Many, many millions of people and trillions of dollars of infrastructure are in serious danger, if those projections are correct.”
NOAA commissions high-tech coastal mapping ship in Norfolk, Va.
“The new ship’s primary mission will be to detect and monitor changes to the sea floor. Data collected by the ship will be used to update nautical charts, detect potential hazards to navigation, and enhance our understanding of the ever-changing marine environment.
Ferdinand R. Hassler will operate mainly along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Caribbean Sea and Great Lakes in support of the NOAA Office of Coast Survey’s nautical charting mission. The 124-foot ship will conduct basic hydrographic surveys of the sea floor using side scan and multibeam sonar technologies. The ship is also equipped to deploy buoys and unmanned submersibles and conduct general oceanographic research. Ferdinand R. Hassler’s twin-hull design is particularly suited to NOAA’s mission to map the ocean floor, as it is more stable than a single-hull vessel.”
“The North Carolina Senate has approved legislation that would prohibit the state from considering projected sea level increases in its coastal management strategy. But a scientist involved in the debate argues that ignoring these projections will wind up costing North Carolina — and the rest of the U.S. — far more.
The state Senate in North Carolina voted overwhelmingly last week to pass a bill on sea level rise that has been widely reported in the national media. This bill prevents all state and local agencies from developing regulations or planning documents that consider the possibility of a significant increase in the rate of sea level rise in the future. In other words, when looking for guidance on how to protect the coastal economy and environment over the next century, the state’s planners may only look backward to historical data, not forward to expected changes in the Earth’s climate dynamics.
This bill has been widely ridiculed in many news outlets and science blogs, culminating with a biting satire of the proposal by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report. Personally, the whole thing just makes me sad.
I serve on the science panel that advises the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission (CRC). Two years ago, the CRC solicited a report from the panel that would summarize the state of the science regarding sea-level rise and recommend the expected increase that planners should consider when looking down the road to 2100. Our report included a detailed review of the published literature. It was externally peer-reviewed by out-of-state scientists. It contained no alarmist rhetoric or nightmare scenarios. The final recommendation was for the state to plan for 39 inches of sea level rise. This number corresponds well with expert reports produced in other states.”
Well worth your time, via Yale360.
A glacier in Greenland. Over 270 gigatons of water is melting into the oceans annually. One gigaton of water is enough for 17 million people.
GOP proves government exists for a reason, to serve the highest bidder.
Well this went further.
AccuWeather’s 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecasts 12 named tropical storms, five named hurricanes and two major hurricanes. The 2012 hurricane forecast is near-normal for the Atlantic Basin.
From The Times Colonist:
A Canadian researcher is at the centre of a provocative new international study that puts an eye-popping price tag on the damage being done to the world’s oceans and fisheries - a cost that could reach $2 trillion a year by 2100 - from carbon emissions, over-fertilization, over-fishing and other human impacts.
University of British Columbia fisheries economist Rashid Sumaila, a leading critic of international fishing policies, is co-editor of the 300-page Valuing The Ocean report released last week at the high-profile Planet Under Pressure environmental conference in Britain.
The study, touted as a “unique,” monetary assessment of global ocean health and threats, is the latest attempt by ecosystem-conscious scientists to affix financial value to planetary resources taken for granted in traditional models of economic activity.
The project was coordinated by the Swedish-based Stockholm Environment Institute, which said in a statement that “the ocean is the victim of a massive market failure,” and that “the true worth of its ecosystems, services, and functions is persistently ignored by policy-makers and largely excluded from wider economic and development strategies.”
Sumaila said that “the combined global and local threats to the ocean are unprecedented in human history. Incremental change and business-as-usual will not suffice.”
But the global ocean crisis “can be rectified,” the UBC researcher added, “if the ocean and the services it provides are placed at the heart of global efforts to build a green economy for the future.”
Check out the rest of the article here.
They finally did it. I lived in Seattle for 5 years during the early ’00s. A gem of a city. But the viaduct was forever controversial. It blocked access to Puget Sound, was rotting and rusting away, caused innumerable accidents and pain, and was generally a nasty piece of infrastructure. Now it’s finally down, and I cannot think of a better tribute than the above…
“Oh Viaduct, you’re out of luck, we put you up, we let you down” @geoffmeggs Infrastructure sing-along…
An ode to Seattle’s viaduct by Braniel (though could be Vancouver?)
Climate Change Adaptation in Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States
This short movie features different perceptions, approaches, and solutions in regard to climate change adaptation in Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States. The footage was recorded during a workshop series in Szczecin, Gdansk, Klaipeda, and Riga from 24 to 28 October 2011. Scientists and local stakeholders from Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia comment on climate change and climate adaptation. Local problems and solutions in the different countries are described, and the advantages of an international exchange of experience are emphasized.
The workshops were organized by Ecologic Institute, Berlin, with the support of the Helmholtz Center Geesthacht. The effort was a cooperation of the RADOST project (Regional Adaptation Strategies for the German Baltic Sea Coast) with BALTADAPT and Circum Mare Balticum (Regional availability of climate knowledge in the Baltic Sea region).