Climate: ‘Today’s flood is tomorrow’s high tide … ‘

‘The ocean is rising and it’s going to keep rising for quite some time’

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A NOAA aerial photo shows damage caused by superstorm Sandy along the New Jersey shoreline. Click on the photo to see before and after images on the NASA EO website.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — What until recently was a mostly academic discussion about sea level rise is starting to hit home — literally —as Americans watch devastating storms like Katrina, Irene and Sandy engulf cities and fundamentally alter the shape of coastal areas.

“What is very clear is, the ocean is rising and it’s going to keep rising for quite some time. The difference from last time is, now, there are a lot of people living on the coast,” said Margaret Davidson, acting director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. Davidson’s powerpoint presentation is online here, and a video of her presentation should also be posted at the same place soon.

The consequences of rising sea level are likely to be enormous, given that the majority of the country’s population lives along coastlines, and those coastal cities generate a huge percentage of the country’s economic wealth.

“How do we begin to think about that? We’ve never had to think about relocating large populations,” Davidson said, addressing an audience of broadcast meteorologists and climate scientists during the annual Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge. 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

Global warming: Europeans see serious coastal threats

86 percent of surveyed coastal residents believe climate change is human-caused

Some beach communties are pumping sand along beaches to try and keep up with coastal erosion and rising sea levels.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Europeans living in coastal areas support government policies to protect marine environments from climate-change impacts and named climate-related issues like coastal erosion and sea-level rise as recognizable threats.

The findings came from an extensive survey on environmental issues. The online sampling of 10,000 residents of 10 European countries — 1,000 from each of Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Norway and Estonia — revealed widespread concern about climate change, led by worries about sea level rise and coastal erosion.

Eighteen percent of the respondents named climate change as the single most important environmental problem facing the world. By comparison, poverty and lack of food and drinking water was chosen by 31 percent, international terrorism by 16 percent, and a global economic downturn by 12 percent.

Europeans are also much more inclined to recognize that climate change is caused entirely, mainly or in part by human activities, with 86 percent of the respondents holding that belief, while only 8 percent thought that climate change was mainly or entirely caused by natural processes; in the United States, about 32-36 percent hold this view. Continue reading

Morning photo: Benelux

Travel vicariously with Summit Voice

A colorful flower stand in Amsterdam. PHOTO BY LEIGH WADDEN. Click on the image for a travel story about a bike tour on the Dutch Island of Texel.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Since it’s the weekend, it’s time for another travel edition of the daily photoblog, starting with the colorful flower stand in Amsterdam to brighten what could be another gray and dreary day in the high country of Colorado. More pics after the break … Continue reading

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