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Sea Level Rise

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Sujan Kakumanu

on 23 May 2013

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Transcript of Sea Level Rise

Sea Level Rise-The Effects and Solutions By Sujan Kakumanu Current Effects of Sea Level Rise Sea Level Rise may seem like a distant problem but it is already effecting us. People in certain countries have to relocate their family every week just to escape the rising sea. The Netherlands Most likely,when you think of the Netherlands, you think of: In reality, The Netherlands is a beautiful country........that the ocean is constantly trying to destroy. 50% of the country is only a few feet above sea level and the rest is below sea level. After a series of devastating floods in the 1900s, the Dutch decided that it was time to act. They built the Deltawerken (The Delta Works) and the Zuiderzeewerken (The Zuiderzee Works) to combat storm surges and the rise in sea level. The Netherlands is a developed country with a lot of support and money to build such defenses. There are other countries in the world that do not have the resources to do so. Bangladesh Bangladesh is constantly bombarded with cyclones and monsoons. To make matters worse, the low lying land that most Bangladeshis call home is constantly threatened by sea level rise. Salt water that is being pushed inland due to Sea Level Rise is destroying the rice crop of the area. People are having to move further and further inland to escape the rising sea. A higher sea level means bigger storm surges. Bigger storm surges mean even more intense flooding. This intensification of flooding is ruining the livelihoods of many people in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government is trying its very best to combat this problem by constructing raised concrete shelters, improving evacuation plans, and placing stricter building codes. All these can buy some time for Bangladesh but without international intervention, a huge chunk of the country could be gone by the end of the century. Future Effects of Sea Level Rise The examples given are just a few of impacts that sea level rise has on us now. As bad as that may seem, it gets worse in the future. With increased melting at the poles and terible coastal management, the effects of sea level rise will get worse. MELTING The United States Florida Florida has an unpleasant future due to the effects of sea level. A 3 foot rise in sea level would require almost all major ports in Florida to move. Most of the State's power stations are located 4 feet above sea level and a huge section of the fresh water supply in Florida is located only 5 feet above sea level. At a 6 foot rise in sea level, most people would be forced to leave the state. This statement would be less worrying if most predictions didn't talk about a 6 foot rise in sea level by the end of the century. Miami, Florida is built on ground that is either at or above sea level. Despite these projections, expensive high rises continue to be built right along the coast in places like Miami. These construction projects just make the effects of sea level rise even more costly. San Francisco and the San Joaquin Delta San Francisco and the San Joaquin Delta are two places that sea level rise can cause major economic damage. Higher sea levels would also add to Florida's vulnerability to sea level rise. A higher sea level would contribute to a higher storm surge. Places that would otherwise be safe from a storm surge would be engulfed. Many places such along the East coast will be effected by sea level rise in the near future. There is one place in the country that will take longer to be effected by sea level rise but when it is, the consequences would be devastating. In many people's minds, San Francisco has a very rolling and hilly terrain. Although that holds true in many places, a lot of San Francisco's financial district is located on low lying reclaimed land. In the coming centuries, flooding could become common in parts of the area. The effects of sea level rise would go way further than the flooding of San Francisco. The ocean is connected to San Francisco bay which is connected to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Most of the regions fresh water is derived from this area and the delta area is an important agricultural center. If salt water from the oceans were to infiltrate the delta, California would suffer 40 billion dollars in economic loss. Over 7 million people live and work in this area and if sea level rises continue to rise, people could lose their homes and livelihoods. There is another highly populated area that can be effected by sea level rise in the coming centuries. The Mediterranean Coast A lot of countries in Europe and Africa rely on the Mediterranean for fishing and tourism revenues. In places like Spain, hundreds of thousands of people flock to its beaches. While they do so, they generate a ton of tourist revenues. Many major cities such as Barcelona are right next to the coast. The first thing sea level rise would do here is completely wipe the beaches off the map. In most places the beaches would retreat and regenerate. Here, mountains and heavy infrastructure behind the beaches prohibit them from regenerating. This would totally destroy the economies of countries (Like Spain's) who rely on tourism. Another major effect sea level rise will have here is that cities on the coast could flood. That would again cost tourism revenues and could adversely effect the economies of nations that have land along this coast. As you can see, sea level rise has a lot of negative impacts but there are solutions that we can implement to slow or reduce the effects. Solutions to Sea Level Rise Despite how bleak the outlook seems, there are solutions to this impending disaster. All it will require is cooperation (between countries and politicians within countries) and in some cases, a bit of money. Recently, a Dutch coastal engineer proposed a daring and costly solution to California's sea level rise problem. His plan says that a giant dam could be built closing off the bay from the rest of the ocean.Then, the coast around the bay could be fitted with levees and more coastal defenses. It would be costly and require total cooperation between everyone in the United States. The Mediterranean has a key geographical feature that could help save it as well. The Strait of Gibraltar The same Dutch coastal engineer says that a dam similar to the one in San Francisco could be placed here. Except here, it would be much more complicated. The dam would have to have openings under the water to let water in and out of the sea. This would help maintain the salinity, water level, and wildlife of the area. The dam he designed would be extremely costly and require even more cooperation, this time between all the countries of this region. Most people think that these such solutions can be implemented everywhere. They can't. In most other cases, such structures would be WAY to costly and too environmentally damaging to build. The more responsible thing to do would be to relocate people away from the coasts. The only buildings on the coast should be small and easily relocatable. The Of our ice caps has reached such a point that sea level rise in inevitable and accelerating. Reducing our CO2 emissions now would help slow down sea level rise in a few centuries but we have already started the domino effect. Sea level rise is creeping up faster than you would think and we need to start acting as soon as possible so the consequences won't be too much to handle.
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