Losing ground: Coastal erosion seen as big threat in Alaska

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A NASA Earth Observatory image shows part of Alaska’s coast.

New USGS study measures North Slope shoreline losses

Staff Report

FRISCO — In the eternal battle between land and sea, the sea appears to be winning in northern Alaska, where much of the coastline is retreating at a rate of more than three feet per year, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The region has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world, according to the research, which analyzed more than 50 years worth of measurements.

“Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast of Alaska is threatening Native Alaskan villages, sensitive ecosystems, energy and defense related infrastructure, and large tracts of Native Alaskan, State, and Federally managed land,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS. Continue reading

Rising sea level to take big bite from Hawaii beaches

Study projects increasing rate of coastal erosion

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The Hawaiian Islands via NASA Earth Observatory.

Staff Report

FRISCO — As sea level rises, Hawaii’s beaches are on track to shrink by 20 to 40 feet during the next few decades, scientists announced in a new study.

“When we modeled future shoreline change with the increased rates of sea level rise projected under the IPCC’s “business as usual” scenario, we found that increased SLR causes an average 16 – 20 feet of additional shoreline retreat by 2050,” said lead author Tiffany Anderson, a post-doctoral researcher at the UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. Continue reading

Sea level rise driving Hawaii coastal erosion

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The Hawaiian Islands, courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

New data to help long-term coastal planning

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A team of scientists have taken a close look at coastal erosion trends in Hawaii and determined that sea-level rise is the main driver, outweighing other factors like waves, sediment supply and coastal development.

The researchers from the University of Hawaii – Manoa, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources said that knowing that sea-level rise is a primary cause of shoreline will help resource managers and planners going forward. Continue reading

Stunning mangrove losses in Bangladesh and India

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A Landsat 7 image of Sundarbans, released by NASA Earth Observatory.

Coastline losses in the Sundarbans reaches 200 meters per year

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Coastal development and climate change are eating away at the Sundarbans, the largest block of mangroves in the world, stretched along the coast of India and Bangladesh. In some areas, up to 200 meters of coast are disappearing annually, according to a report from the Zoological Society of London.

The losses are affecting the area’s natural protection from tidal waves and cyclones This will inevitably lead to species loss in this richly biodiverse part of the world, the scientists said.

“Our results indicate a rapidly retreating coastline that cannot be accounted for by the regular dynamics of the Sundarbans. Degradation is happening fast, weakening this natural shield for India and Bangladesh,” said  ZSL’s Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, senior author of the paper. Continue reading

Climate: Current models underestimate coastal erosion impacts from sea level rise

Impacts could be much greater near estuaries, lagoons and river mouths

A pipe snaking across a Florida beach replenishes the eroded strand with material from a nearby inlet. Photo by Bob Berwyn.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — When it comes to sea level rise, not many countries have as much to lose as the Netherlands, so it should be no surprise that Dutch researchers are closely tracking the impacts of coastal erosion.

In one of the latest studies, scientists from UNESCO, the Technical University of Delft and Deltares say the effects of coastline erosion as a result of rising sea-level rise in the vicinity of inlets, such as river estuaries, have been dramatically underestimated.

Using a new model that incorporates input specific to coastal inlets like river estuaries and lagoons, the researchers found that most existing models show only about 25 to 50 percent of the coastal erosion that will occur as the climate warms and sea level continues to rise. Continue reading

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