Climate Change Effects on Coastlines

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by multicitcat
Last updated 6 years ago

Environmental Studies

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Climate Change Effects on Coastlines

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FACT:40% of people live less than 97kms from the coast

FACT:145 people live less than one meter above average sea level

Thermal expansion of oceans and melting ice leads to rising sea levels, threatening many coastal communities.

Sea level rose around 15cm during 20th Century, predictions expect further 18cms between 1900-2100. Even if green house gas emissions radically decreased over the next 20 years, because of large thermal mass of the oceans, seas levels would continue rising for hundreds of years, a long lasting effect of already released emissions.

FACT:by 2100, sea levels might be 2 meters higher than in 1990.

Rising Sea LevelsThe exact peak of sea level increase is uncertain. Based on conventional predictions, it could be just over 0.5m by 2100, however sea levels have been increasing faster than expected. Along with melting ice from Antarctica and Greenland, by 2100 seal levels could be 2 meters higher than in 1990. Storm surges can also add 5 meters or more to the average sea level. Were the Greenland ice cap to melt, it would add 7m to global sea levels.

EffectsA global sea level rise of just 1 meter will have a significant effect on many coastal communities:• The Maldives Islands will be completely inundated, as will a large number of Caribbean Islands• Agricultural land will be lost• Cities will be threatened• Movement of sea water into freshwater aquifers, will affect drinking water supplies across the world• Coastal storms, flooding, innundation, erosion and saltwater intrusion into freshwater supplies will combine to present a threat to communities.

FACT:There are 136 port cities with populations over 1 million.

Aging infrastructure may be insufficient in these current and future circumstances. Necessary services in a city such as communication, trade, healthcare and transportation are at risk. Without increased efforts of adaptation, the impact on the subway system in New York will be horrendous, as well as sanitation facilities, factories and power plants will all be at risk with a sea level increase of just 1m.

Climate change is threatening sites that represent the world’s cultural and historical heritage. Rising sea levels are affecting cherished building, monuments, archeological sites and other traces of history. In 2002, flooding across Europe damaged theatres, museums and archival documents.

New Orleans in the US, already below sea level and relying on levies and dams to keep from flooding, would be completely inundated with a sea level increase of 1 m.

In Egypt, monuments of Alexandria are threatened by coastal erosion and inundation of the Nile, cause by sea level rise. Flooding has also damaged the 600-year-old ruins of Sukothai and the ruins of Ayutthaya in Thailand.

Artic indigenous people find it more difficult to continue traditional fishing and hunting skills and techniques. Structure of many buildings are being compromised in Venice due to frequent flooding.


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