Tag Archive for 'sea level rise'

Climate study predicts a watery future for New York, Boston and Miami

Photo retrieved from: www.theguardian.com

“More than 1,700 American cities and towns – including BostonNew York, and Miami – are at greater risk from rising sea levels than previously feared, a new study has found.

By 2100, the future of at least part of these 1,700 locations will be “locked in” by greenhouse gas emissions built up in the atmosphere, the analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday found.

“The survey does not specify a date by which these cities, or parts of them, would actually fall under water. Instead, it specifies a “locked-in” date, by which time a future under water would be certain – a point of no return.

Because of the inertia built into the climate system, even if all carbon emissions stopped immediately, it would take some time for the related global temperature rises to ease off. That means the fate of some cities is already sealed, the study says.”

“Even if we could just stop global emissions tomorrow on a dime, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, Hoboken, New Jersey will be under sea level,” said Benjamin Strauss, a researcher at Climate Central, and author of the paper. Dramatic cuts in emissions – much greater than Barack Obama and other world leaders have so far agreed – could save nearly 1,000 of those towns, by averting the sea-level rise, the study found.”

Read more: The Guardian


Groundwater Depletion Accelerates Sea-Level Rise

Photo retrieved from: www.nationalgeographic.com

“Groundwater depletion will soon be as important a factor in contributing to sea-level rise as the melting of glaciers other than those in Greenland and Antarctica, scientists say.

That’s because water pumped out of the ground for irrigation, industrial uses, and even drinking must go somewhere after it’s used—and, whether it runs directly into streams and rivers or evaporates and falls elsewhere as rain, one likely place for it to end up is the ocean.

To find out how much of an effect this has on sea level, a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, a graduate student at Utrecht University, divided the Earth’s land surface into 31-by-31-mile (50-by-50 kilometer) squares on a grid to calculate present and future groundwater usage.

To make the calculation as precise as possible, they used not only current water-use statistics from each country, but also economic growth and development projections. They also took into account the impact of climate change on regional water needs, considering “all the major factors that contribute,” Wada said.

Because aquifers can be refilled, the scientists also used climate, rainfall, and hydrological models to calculate the rate of groundwater recharge for each region. From this, they projected the net rate of groundwater depletion.”

Read more: National Geographic


Fresh water demand driving sea-level rise faster than glacier melt

Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk

“Trillions of tonnes of water have been pumped up from deep underground reservoirs in every part of the world and then channelled into fields and pipes to keep communities fed and watered. The water then flows into the oceans, but far more quickly than the ancient aquifers are replenished by rains. The global tide would be rising even more quickly but for the fact that man-made reservoirs have, until now, held back the flow by storing huge amounts of water on land.

“The water being taken from deep wells is geologically old – there is no replenishment and so it is a one way transfer into the ocean,” said sea level expert Prof Robert Nicholls, at the University of Southampton. “In the long run, I would still be more concerned about the impact of climate change, but this work shows that even if we stabilise the climate, we might still get sea level rise due to how we use water.” He said the sea level would rise 10 metres or more if all the world’s groundwater was pumped out, though he said removing every drop was unlikely because some aquifers contain salt water. The sea level is predicted to rise by 30-100cm by 2100, putting many coasts at risk, by increasing the number of storm surges that swamp cities.”

Read more: Guardian


Vietnam’s Rice Bowl Threatened By Rising Seas

Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk

“Sitting amid buckets of rice in the market, Nguyen Thi Lim Lien issues a warning she desperately hopes the world will hear: climate change is turning the rivers of the Mekong Delta salty.

“The government tells us that there are three grams of salt per litre of fresh water in the rivers now,” she says. “Gradually more and more people are affected. Those nearest the sea are the most affected now, but soon the whole province will be hit.”

The vast, humid expanse of the delta is home to more than 17 million people, who have relied for generations on its thousands of river arteries. But rising sea water caused by global warming is now increasing the salt content of the river water and threatening the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers and fishermen.

Vietnam is listed by the World Bank among the countries most threatened by rising waters brought about by higher global temperatures, with only the Bahamas more vulnerable to a one-metre rise in sea levels. Such a rise could leave a third of the Mekong Delta underwater and lead to mass internal migration and devastation in a region that produces nearly half of Vietnam’s rice.”

Read more: Guardian


Front-Line City in Virginia Tackles Rise in Sea

Photo retrieved from: www.nytimes.com

“As sea levels rise, tidal flooding is increasingly disrupting life here and all along the East Coast, a development many climate scientists link to global warming.

But Norfolk is worse off. Situated just west of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, it is bordered on three sides by water, including several rivers, like the Lafayette, that are actually long tidal streams that feed into the bay and eventually the ocean.

Like many other cities, Norfolk was built on filled-in marsh. Now that fill is settling and compacting. In addition, the city is in an area where significant natural sinking of land is occurring. The result is that Norfolk has experienced the highest relative increase in sea level on the East Coast — 14.5 inches since 1930, according to readings by the Sewells Point naval station here.

Climate change is a subject of friction in Virginia. The state’s attorney general, Ken T. Cuccinelli II, is trying to prove that a prominent climate scientist engaged in fraud when he was a researcher at the University of Virginia. But the residents of coastal neighborhoods here are less interested in the debate than in the real-time consequences of a rise in sea level.”

Read more: New York Times

Arab World and Med Region More Vulnerable to Climate Change

Photo retrieved from: www.greenprophet.com If Egypt’s Nile Delta is flooded by rising seas, half of its population will be at risk.

“The seriousness of climate change in the Arab World was pointed out recently in an article in the news site ArabBusiness.com, in which it was noted that powerful dust storms in Iraq, freak floods wreaking havoc in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and rising sea levels eroding Egypt’s coast are all sure signs that countries in the Middle East are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

This is certainly nothing new as the Middle East has never been an area that has received ample rainfall. With one of the fastest growing populations in the world, especially in countries like Egypt, people living in the Arab World by the year 2015 will have to survive on less than 500 cubic meters of water a year each, against a world average exceeding 6,000 cubic meters per head, according to Mohamed El-Ashry, former head of the Global Environment Facility.

Five hundred cubic meters of water per person per annum is barely enough to survive on, much less maintain a decent quality of life. Although desalination is now widely used in Saudi Arabia, and in the Gulf States, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, strict measures of water conservation and recycling, such as those now being considered in Abu Dhabi will now have to become the norm.

After all, if a small country like Israel, with a population of 7.5 million can reclaim 75% of its sewage waste water then why can’t Arab countries do the same? The ravages of climate change will not go away soon; and the sooner that Arab countries take more measures to conserve water, the better off they will be.”

Read more: Green Prophet

8 million tonnes of methane seeping out from Arctic annually: Study

“Methane, the second most common greenhouse gas from human activities after carbon dioxide, is bubbling out from the frozen Arctic much faster than expected and could stoke global warming, scientists have warned.”

read more: Economic Times