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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

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