Everything Worth Knowing About ... Sea Level Rise
How many cities will our oceans swallow?
By April Reese
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
New York: Officials are considering a $6.5 billion harbor wall to keep the water out. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed buying out residents in vulnerable areas and replacing their homes with wetlands and dunes to move people out of harm’s way and buffer the city against storm surges.
Imagine the Statue of Liberty, water lapping at her skirts. Or the Sydney Opera House, seawater filling its seats.
Coastal areas around the globe are losing ground to the sea — and faster than ever. In the past quarter-century alone, the ocean has risen an average of almost 3 inches.
With nearly half the world’s population living within 93 miles of a coast, and much of the globe’s commerce concentrated there, sea level rise looms as one of the greatest of all climate change threats.
Given the vastness of the oceans, it may be hard to imagine that warming seas and melting glaciers could raise sea levels enough to inundate thousands of miles of coastline. But adding an inch of water to a full bathtub can still soak the floor — it won’t take much to flood the world’s cities and ecosystems.
Sea Level Science
Unlike other climate issues, the science of sea level rise is fairly simple. Ocean levels are increasing mostly because of what heat does to water, in all its various states. As global temperature rises, most of the extra heat in the atmosphere — about 90 percent — sinks into the ocean. As the water warms, it expands, “just like mercury in a thermometer,” explains R. Steven Nerem, a professor of aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. This thermal expansion accounts for one-third of sea level rise. The other two-thirds comes from melting mountain glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
STOP THE WILLIAMS FRACKED GAS PIPELINE THROUGH NY HARBOR!
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT NY HARBOR
1. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day
2.Heartbeats in the Muck by John Waldman
3. The Fisheries of Raritan Bay by Clyde L. MacKenzie Jr.
4. Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan by Phillip Lopate
5. The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell