Monday, September 10, 2007

“We have a potential calamity on our hands"

It's about the rising sea level. I want to share an article with you today called "Fighting to Stay Above Water" by Neal Peirce. Here's part of what it says:

A chilling set of three-dimensional images of climate-triggered sea rise flooding into coastal U.S. cities is due to be released this week by the environmental nonprofit group Architecture 2030.

A sea level rise as little as 1 meter could have catastrophic impact along the country’s 12,000 miles of coastline, where 53 percent of Americans live, according to the group’s pathbreaking scientific analysis.

Such cities as Miami Beach and Hollywood, Fla., New Orleans, Hampton, Va., and Point Pleasant, N.J., would have major areas underwater with a sea rise of 1 meter or less. By a 1.5-meter rise, Miami and other Florida communities, along with East Boston, Mass., Galveston, Texas, and Atlantic City, N.J., are in deep trouble. By 3 meters, San Francisco, New York, Boston, San Diego and Savannah, Ga., fall victim to severe damage.

The new study, based on satellite imagery, tidal patterns and on-location measurements of likely coastal city “breach points,” analyzes the sea-level shifts that global warming could trigger at much smaller increments than earlier reports. Images of the potential city-by-city flood-impact findings, integrated into Google Earth city images, will be available starting Monday at

“We have a potential calamity on our hands,” says Edward Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030. “There’s danger of one city after another going down. Flood insurance will evaporate. People will be forced to migrate inland; lose everything. We’ll be a nation under siege, with huge pressures on our economy and school, health and food systems.”

But how likely is all this to occur? Scientists, Mazria notes, are now predicting a global tipping point - potentially irreversible disintegration of ice sheets and glaciers - at roughly 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The level is already 383 ppm and rising at 2 ppm yearly. Without an early turnaround - within the next decade, many experts believe - it may be impossible to stop today’s dangerous momentum.

I'm glad I live inland, that's for sure.

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