Video Shows What Tidal Flooding and Sea Level Rise Will Look Like

encroaching-tides-full-reportMaybe some visual evidence of the effects of tidal flooding and the rise of sea levels due to climate change will help transform debate and talk into action.

A video from the Union of Concerned Scientists helpfully illustrates, in about three-and-a-half minutes, the “growing impacts of global warming.”

It’s not that complicated: Water expands when heated. Sea levels are rising, and sea levels are rising faster as global warming heats up the planet.

UCS makes the point that, “Today scores of coastal communities are seeing more frequent flooding during high tides. As sea level rises higher over the next 15 to 30 years, tidal flooding is expected to occur more often, cause more disruption, and even render some areas unusable — all within the time frame of a typical home mortgage.”

Give the video a view:

UCS also published a 76-page report, Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years.

The report explains, “High tides are having a greater impact on U.S. communities today than in decades past for two reasons. First, our shores are more heavily developed, so higher tides affect more people and infrastructure. Second, these tides are now occurring on top of elevated — and rising — sea levels.”

Building coastal resilience is both a local and a national imperative: “Coastal communities, and the nation as a whole, need to start planning today to cope with sea level rise and unprecedented tidal flooding, and to take swift and decisive action to limit longer-term damage to our coasts.”

Tidal flooding “has simply become a fact of life.” By 2045, some coastal communities will face flooding 24 times a year – or twice a month, the UCS says.

For all those climate deniers out there, if you have read this far, I recommend that you read a recent article republished by Salon: “I was once a climate change denier,” by Kasra Hassani, a scientist with a PhD in microbiology and immunology.

In the article, Hassani describes his journey past all of the typical denier positions, such as the “we have bigger problems” phase, or the “it’s all a conspiracy” phase, or the “okay, it may be happening, but who knows if it’s our fault” phase.

His bottom line: “No human is free of bias. There could be certain social, political and even personal circumstances that would stiffen a thought or belief in one’s mind. It takes effort try to identify our biases and rid ourselves of them, or at least be conscious of them. But it’s definitely worth it.” Bravo!

Climate change is not something that will happen in the distant future, and even the near-term future doesn’t look very good at all; it’s happening right now, and action needs to happen right now.

Image credit: Picture extracted from the USC Encroaching Tides report

writer, editor, reader and general good (ok mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by

17 responses

  1. Lands rise and subside all the time…Bangkok Thailand and New Orleans Louisiana are two areas sinking. If it was Sea level rising it would be every coast everywhere

  2. Yesterday these wacky leftists who love the man made global warming hoax were going on about how global warming was increasing the chance of Ebola spreading. Yahoo should be shut down for printing dozens of articles outlining this nonsense weekly.

  3. Sea levels have been rising since the last ice age. The rate at which they are rising hasn’t changed and if fact has slowed in recent years. It’s time that the warmers looked at the facts.

      1. I’ll see your one study from 2007 and raise you four from the very recent past.

        Maybe some reading will help you:

        Sea level rise decelerating, now at 1.8mm per year: almost half of what has been occurring since the 19th century (3.2mm/yr.)

        So allegedly the glaciers and Poles are melting, the oceans are warming, and the sea level rise is going to drown us all?

        The studies discuss “thermal expansion” and how it has been negative since ~2003. Only cooling oceans contract.

        1. First link 2004 to 2012 short term trends that are shown in the paper I linked. No new info there.
          Your second link is much more interesting, it’s described the many factors that contribute to the sea level rise, but again, in their summary “In the last two decades, the rate of GMSLR has been larger than the twentieth-century time mean, because of increased rates of thermal expansion, glacier mass loss, and ice discharge from both ice sheets (Church et al. 2011).
          Third link same as the first?
          The forth link is much more to your point. However, I give you this rebuttal:

          “when the rate of global sea-level rise is correlated to global temperature data, this correlation not only explains the lack of acceleration since 1930, it also is both highly statistically significant and points to a sea level that responds more strongly to global warming than predictions by climate models would indicate.”

          You’re going to have to look beyond wattsupwitthat.

        2. The first link that you trivialized states,
          “This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during the last decade, as a part of the Pacific decadal-scale variability, This deceleration is mainly due to the slowdown of ocean thermal expansion in the Pacific during the last decade, as a part of the Pacific decadal-scale variability, while the land-ice melting is accelerating the rise of the global ocean mass-equivalent sea level. Recent rapid recovery of the rising GMSL from its dramatic drop during the 2011 La Niña introduced a large uncertainty in the estimation of the sea level trend, but the decelerated rise of the GMSL appears to be intact.”

          Your “short timescale” comment is inappropriate as that is the point the authors are making: since 2004.

          So in spite of the fact that, “…while the land-ice melting is
          accelerating the rise of the global ocean mass-equivalent sea level…the decelerated rise of the GMSL appears to be intact.” If in fact, “we’re all gonna drown” why is the rise slowing down? Warming oceans cannot contract and only cooling can slow the rise rate as land based contribution (as stated) has allegedly increased.

          The second link states implicitly:
          “The reconstructions account for the observation that the rate of GMSLR was not much larger during the last 50 years than during the twentieth century as a whole, despite the increasing anthropogenic forcing. Semiempirical methods
          for projecting GMSLR depend on the existence of a relationship between global climate change and the rate of GMSLR, but the implication of the authors’ closure of the budget is that such a relationship is weak or absent during the twentieth century.” Stating that an “increasing anthropogenic forcing…link…is weak or absent”.

          You nailed the 3rd link…my bad. Sorry about the

          Your rebuttal paper states in part, “A key strength of modelling sea level as a function of temperature…” Climate, and sea level rise, modelling is exactly the problem that created the alarmist predictions in the first place: un- validated and un-verified all. None of the myriad climate model predictions has come to pass to date; why should we
          believe they rebut any empirical study?

  4. A few points to consider: The vid focused specifically on extreme tides. The implication was it was a result of high sea level. They made no mention that extreme tides are cyclical, relative to alignment of the moon and the sun. We expect the norm, the “spring tide” but our planet wobbles on its access and combined with the variations in the moon and solar orbit extreme tides are expected over time. As far as melting ice, well expect more as our planets orbit and our own wobble and solar output come to play. Fact is water takes up a great deal more volume when frozen than when liquid. Water does expand again from its cold liquid state…but at the lower temperatures of the ocean, the chances of ocean temperature increasing enough to see a rise are not likely. Makes more sense to take the Galveston approach to protecting its land than to try to change a factor such as CO2 that is not likely to play a significant role. Build higher, build sea walls, or better still don’t build so close to the coast! A side note. “Super Storm Sandy” only claim to fame is it landed during an extreme high tide!

    1. A few points to consider:

      Earth does not wobble on its access. Access to what? Its axis?

      Earth’s variations on its axis its orbit around the sun occur on 10,000’s of years to 100,000’s of years. These changes are not detectable over a few decades to a few centuries concerning tidal surge.

      Solar output has been down for about the past 2 decades. Even between the increased and decreased solar outputs the difference in output is minimal. That is why it is referred to as the solar constant.

      Water expands as it is heated.

      The oceans are warming.

      Do you think that homes built at or near ground level would have happened if the area is often impacted by tidal surges? Paved streets? Parks? Schools? Something must have changed since these homes were build and the streets were laid?

      Protecting from sea level rise is an adaptive measure. Trying to reduce the amount of sea level rise is a attempt to mitigate the rise. Even with extreme efforts towards mitigation now we will still need to take adaptive measures towards sea level rise. So, yes, it is wise to take adaptive measures now.

      “Super Storm Sandy” had more going for it than just its arrival at high tide:

      Hurricane Sandy became the largest hurricane (1,100 mile wide windfield) on record for the Atlantic basin. This large of a windfield allowed Sandy to put into much a very large area of water.

      Sandy made an almost due west move before making landfall on the eastern U.S. seaboard. This is a rare path for an Atlantic tropical system to take at that high of a latitude. The westward push at landfall also pushed more water in at the time of the surge.

      1. I’d like to hear what you’re problem is with fossil fuels. They are the only reason (if you reside in the US) that you enjoy many of the comforts, utility, and prosperity that you do. The computer you obviously enjoy, heating your home, driving your car, healthcare, etc, etc, etc, all owe some degree of their existence, in whole or part, to fossil fuels.

        I agree that “Big Oil” is likely a big controlling factor (lobby) in our government, that needs to stop. It is also highly subsidized, and that needs to stop. It is obviously the source of obscene profit and power, that also needs to stop.

        However, I believe that we have been progressing away from carbon based (fossil fuel) energy sources for the last 100 years. We’ll get there as new technologies are developed. Nuclear (Thorium), hydrogen, fusion, etc. And renewables, when their time comes (it’s just not now),

        But to tag any/all science that is contrary to CAGW as sourced from “fossil fueled interests” is just wrong. Poor argument: too general and not backed up with corroborating evidence/facts.

        1. I enjoy many things due to our use of fossil fuels. Does this give the fossil fuel industries the right to lie and deceive concerning the negative impacts of our burning of fossil fuels? Does this give them the right to at least covertly, if not overtly, attempt to stifle competing alternative energy sources?

          Our slowly moving away from fossil fuels has nothing to do with more than the facts that fossil fuels are finite and they will become too cost prohibitive to use long before they become depleted. When Rex Tillerson states that Exxon/Mobil will bring to market ALL of its reserves then this can only be said for two reasons:

          1. Exxon/Mobil already knows it has the fix in with our elected officials.

          2. This fix is also designed to delay any switch to renewable energy sources by the federal government. The DOD has already had Congress reject its proposal to start moving to sustainable fuel sources now. One Congress person stated that it is Congress’ job to keep spending down for the tax payers. True, but at what future costs by delaying the transition now? Why are some states looking at, or have already implemented, additional fees for home owners that install solar panels?

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