“The sky is not falling, but the waters are rising"
The rising temperature of oceans not only contributes to the power of storms and hurricanes, but also presents the threat of significant rises in sea levels over the next decade.
Progressive melting over the last century and diminishing ice extent in the arctic region has projected a rise in global water levels by 2100 to have the effects of a 2.3 foot rise in New York City, 2.9 feet in Virginia, and 3.5 feet in Galveston, Texas. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
In Boston alone, the destruction of an anticipated 2050 sea level rise can cause $460 billion in damage. That's the equivalent of 20 Big Dig projects! (Harvard University Center for the Environment)
Although sea levels have risen only a couple of inches in recent decades, the rate is increasing. Projections from the National Research Council based on “thermal expansion and ice melt estimate that global sea levels will rise approximately 20 to 39 inches by the end of the century” (NRC 2011).
Sea level destruction and flooding of major American port cities is a rising issue in the United States, especially in the face of significant budget cutbacks.
In coastal locations where this local sea level rise will be combined with subsiding land, this will cause relative sea level to increase even more. Therefore, if there is a place to focus attention in coming decades or even centuries, it's at locations such as the Gulf Coast and the Chesapeake Bay Area.
So how will coastal areas deal with these problems?
Is it through new engineering techniques, government restrictions, or future planning?
Will the United States be able to act ahead of time, or push off the issue until crisis mode when we are forced to act?
Title Quote attributed to: Leonard Barry, director of FAU's Florida Center for Environmental Studies.(Rising seas mean shrinking South Florida future, experts say - Environment - MiamiHerald.com)
Future Climate Change | Climate Change | US EPA
Coastal Areas Impacts & Adaptation | Climate Change | US EPA
NRC (2011). Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia . National Research Council. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA