Seas are now rising faster than they have in 2,800 years, scientists say – Washington Post

We no longer can change it, we have to figure out how to ride it.

A group of scientists says it has now reconstructed the history of the planet’s sea levels arcing back over some 3,000 years — leading it to conclude that the rate of increase experienced in the 20th century was “extremely likely” to have been faster than during nearly the entire period.

“We can say with 95 percent probability that the 20th-century rise was faster than any of the previous 27 centuries,” said Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who led the research with nine colleagues from several U.S. and global universities. Kopp said it’s not that seas rose faster before that – they probably didn’t – but merely that the ability to say as much with the same level of confidence declines.

 

Seas Are Now Rising Faster….

The Siege of Miami – New Yorker

What does Miami have to do with the Olympic Peninsula? It’s all about a ring side seat to the real story of global warming that isn’t being told by the mainstream press, because of fear of panic in high value real estate locales like Miami.This is a clear picture of how bad things are going to get, real fast. Miami is going under water, now, and other than it’s mayor, no one wants to admit it. Read this fascinating story from the front lines of a major American city about to be returned to the sea,perhaps in our life times.

 In November, researchers reported that, owing to the loss of an ice shelf off northeastern Greenland, a new “floodgate” on the ice sheet had opened. All told, Greenland’s ice holds enough water to raise global sea levels by twenty feet……..Of all the world’s cities, Miami ranks second in terms of assets vulnerable to rising seas—No. 1 is Guangzhou—and in terms of population it ranks fourth, after Guangzhou, Mumbai, and Shanghai. A recent report on storm surges in the United States listed four Florida cities among the eight most at risk. (On that list, Tampa came in at No. 1.) For the past several years, the daily high-water mark in the Miami area has been racing up at the rate of almost an inch a year, nearly ten times the rate of average global sea-level rise. 

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/21/the-siege-of-miami

Washington Tribe Confronts Climate Change, Sea Level Rise – Earthfix KUOW

Climate change adaptation strikes home here on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula. The Quinault Indian Nation is struggling sea level rise and the loss of the Anderson Glacier, which feeds the Quinault River.

TAHOLAH, Wash. – A big question will confront international leaders in the next round of climate talks in Paris: How do they help poor, island and coastal nations threatened by rising oceans, extreme weather and other climate change-related risks?

In the Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years. – Ashley Ahearn reports.

http://kuow.org/post/washington-tribe-confronts-climate-change-sea-level-rise?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

Sobering news from one of the world’s top climate scientist – Washington Post

One of the interesting recent revelations I’ve read is from Ray Kurzweil, who has shown that many if not most of human activity ends up generating exponential growth curves. In this major new scientific paper that has significant impacts for us along this coast, we see that ice loss due to global warming and the subsequent sea level rise may be showing this curve as well, instead of the ‘well behaved’ linear curve, so many scientists are hoping for.

This is must reading for anyone involved in planning low lying residential or commercial buildings on the Peninsula. The new estimates place sea level rise that we are starting to experience to be as much as ‘several meters” rather than the more conservative “1 meter” that his colleagues have been estimating. The notion of even seeing a 1 meter rise here in the next few decades will have significant impacts on many  ecosystems, and also low lying infrastructure such as the Port Townsend water treatment plant.

In the new study, Hansen and his colleagues suggest that the “doubling time” for ice loss from West Antarctica — the time period over which the amount of loss could double — could be as short as 10 years. In other words, a non-linear process could be at work, triggering major sea level rise in a time frame of 50 to 200 years.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/07/20/the-worlds-most-famous-climate-scientist-just-outlined-an-alarming-scenario-for-our-planets-future/?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_2_na

US sea level north of New York City ‘jumped by 128mm’ – BBC

More news that should concern our city and county planners. The rise of sea level is happening at the extreme end of the spectrum rather than the middle or lower end of the curve. This will be of concern anytime there are storm tides.  While this is on the east coast, it is likely indicative of trends to be found elsewhere.

Sea levels north of New York City rose by 128mm in two years, according to a report in the journal, Nature Communications. Coastal areas will need to prepare for short term and extreme sea level events, say US scientists. Climate models suggest extreme sea level rises will become more common this century. Helen Briggs reports. (BBC)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31604953

2013 NW Straits Conference Overview

Just got back from a great two days at the NW Straits conference, held in Bellingham. The good folks that steer our Marine Resource Committees always put together a  conference worth attending, and the only unfortunate thing is that they can’t invite the world at large.

Pictured below, Caroline Gibson and Sasha Horst from the NW Straits Commission greet attendees, while Jefferson County Commissioner and ex-fisherman, Phil Johnson discusses net pens.

2013 NW Straits Collage

This year, Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker and Dr. Terrie Klinger started off by giving an update to the state of the science and legislative activity around  Ocean Acidification.  Washington State is at the forefront of global science on this emerging issue, and the Governor has taken the step to create a commission to look into it and get some actions going on this.

Funding for research and data collection is underway, and we were told that funding for educational activities is not,and pressure needs to be exerted to get this to the schools as new curriculum.

Hugh Shipman of the Washington State Department of Ecology spoke on Sea Level Rise in the Puget Sound basin, and Tina Whitman of Friends of the San Juans along with Andrea MacLennon of the Coastal Geographic Services brought people up to speed on how the scientists and policy makers are measuring and planning for sea level rise in San Juan County.

Kathleen Herrmann of the Snohomish County MRC gave a very interesting talk on a new method for gaining public acceptance of MRC goals, using Collective Impact, which is a model framework applied here for marine conservation. Kathleen has done a great job of researching this and applying it to their issues.

Will Stelle, who is the west coast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, closed out day one, with a really entertaining overview of the issues facing the west coast. I would have to say that this overview should be mandatory for all of us trying to get a good overview of the state of affairs right now. It’s a huge span of work. Will presents it with humor and passion.

Conservation biologist Thor Hanson was the after dinner speaker, giving an overview on his new book, Feathers. Thor’s enthusiasm for his work is quite funny and, yes, I bought the book.

On day two: there was tracks on Tools for Promoting Ocean Acidification (O.A.) Literacy, and in another room, an overview of Nearshore Habitat Restoration: From Idea to Reality, Advice from Local Experts. In the O.A.literacy program, Alexis Valauri-Orton, the Thomas J. Watson Fellow presented a really interesting look at her recent research work in talking to various cultures around the world being affected by O.A. Paul Williams of the Suquamish Tribe updated us on their efforts to teach the issue, and Meg Chadsey of Washington Sea Grant also presented.

After lunch, in addition to an overview of evaluating metrics and outreach projects, Dan Tonnes and Helen Berry gave great insight into Rockfish recovery efforts and Kelp monitoring and management in Puget Sound.

Will Stelle – NOAA West Coast Fisheries Administrator on Fisheries and Furloughs – 45 minutes long. Download the audio file and listen.  http://sdrv.ms/17Z2Kzi

All these presentations will be put up in both audio and video formats for download within the next week.  Check back for the links to them. 

A few answers regarding sea level rise

Chris Dunagan of the Kitsap Sun did some digging to come up with a response to a reader who was not convinced of the problems of global warming.

Because of the holidays, I did not get an immediate response from several climate experts I contacted following Nels Sultan’s comments about sea level rise in a blog post regarding “king tides.”

Read more:

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2012/01/04/a-few-answers-regarding-sea-level-rise/#ixzz1jGISbgFc

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