Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth

November 24, 2017 by  
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Two of Antarctica’s glaciers are holding our civilization hostage, meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote in a piece for Grist . Pine Island and Thwaites are among the continent’s biggest and fastest-melting glaciers , together holding back ice that could unleash 11 feet of sea level rise . If they collapse, every coastal city on our planet could flood. Thwaites and Pine Island sprawl across a plain over 150-miles-long, and inland widen to a reserve of ice two-miles-thick that’s about the size of Texas, according to Holthaus, who says there’s no doubt the ice will melt. The question is not if, but how soon. Should the two glaciers collapse, every shoreline and coastal city could be inundated with water, leaving hundreds of millions of climate refugees homeless. And those events could happen in 20 to 50 years – too fast for humans to adapt. Related: Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf Two climatologists, in a study published in Nature last year, said an increase of six feet in ocean levels by 2100 was more likely than three feet – but if carbon emissions continue increasing in a worst case scenario, all 11 feet of ice held back in Antarctica could be freed. But if these glaciers are miles thick, wouldn’t it take an incredibly long time for them to collapse? That may not be the case in our warming world. Holthaus pointed to new evidence saying once we reach a certain temperature threshold, glacier ice shelves extending into the sea – like those of Thwaites and Pine Island – could melt from below and above, quickening their demise. Holthaus noted not every scientist thinks there’s cause for panic. National Snow and Ice Data Center lead scientist Ted Scambos said the two glaciers may not collapse all at once – and rapid collapse would still produce several icebergs that could slow the rate of retreat and act as a temporary ice shelf. But the scientific community is starting to think we need more research into the risk of rapid sea level rise, according to Holthaus. University of Michigan leading ice sheet scientist Jeremy Bassis said, “Every revision to our understanding has said that ice sheets can change faster than we thought. We didn’t predict that Pine Island was going to retreat, we didn’t predict that Larsen B was going to disintegrate. We tend to look at these things after they’ve happened.” Via Grist Images via Wikimedia Commons and NASA

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Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth

New NASA tool shows which melting glaciers will affect coastal cities

November 17, 2017 by  
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NASA has developed a new tool  that individuals and communities can use to determine the precise impacts that sea level rise will have on individual coastal cities . This newly accessible information will enable scientists and policymakers to have a more complete understanding of the consequences of climate change in specific areas. “This study allows one person to understand which icy areas of the world will contribute most significantly to sea level change (rise or decrease) in their specific city,” said Eric Larour, one of the study’s authors, in an interview with CNN . While most coastal communities around the world understand the imminent risks to their survival from sea level rise , this tool allows them to plan more precisely for the future. Current projections estimate that coastal communities will face a sea level rise of one to four feet, depending on location. Since the impact of melting sea ice will be felt differently in different places, it is important for communities to have as precise and accurate information as possible. NASA’s new tool, developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, incorporates the rotation of the Earth and gravitational variables to more precisely identify how specific bodies of melting ice will impact certain communities. Related: Boston outlines its plans to adapt to rising sea levels To create this tool, researchers conducted a study in which they analyzed data for 293 coastal cities to calculate local sea level rise and the glacial source of this newly liquid water. Glaciers farthest away from a particular city tended to be the most responsible for its sea level rise, due to gravity. “Ice sheets are so heavy, that when they melt, the gravity field is modified, and the ocean is less attracted to the ice mass,” said Larour in an interview with CNN . “This means that locally, close to the ice change itself, sea level will decrease.” Larour hopes that this new tool will empower local communities to make informed decisions as they prepare for unfolding impacts of climate change . + NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Via CNN Images via NASA and Depositphotos

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New NASA tool shows which melting glaciers will affect coastal cities

How climate resilience officers face ‘the new normal’

October 17, 2017 by  
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What makes a climate resilience officer? According to Kit Batten, climate resilience officer at the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) company, she must assess the risks a company faces from climate impacts, as well as protect the communities the company serves. PG&E covers roughly two-thirds of California, she said, and it must prepare for six climate change drivers throughout the state: Sea level rise; flooding from stronger storms; drought; decreasing ground elevation due to drought; increasing wildfires and heatwaves. 

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Community is the key to resilience

July 24, 2017 by  
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Four weeks into the job, Josh Stanbro, chief resilience officer of the City and County of Honolulu, discussed confronting the sustainability challenges confronting the city and Hawaii as a state and part of the world at large.”On Oahu, people recognize that there are direct and immediate threats from climate change,” said Stanbro. Forward-thinking Honolulu had recently voted to establish an office of resilience that tackles affordable housing, critical infrastructure and response to natural hazards associated with climate change and sea level rise.  

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Community is the key to resilience

INFOGRAPHIC: What you need to know about Sea Level Rise

June 16, 2016 by  
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We know that sea levels are rising and we know that many coastal cities struggle regularly with resulting flooding, but how much do we know about where we are headed? Which cities are taking action to protect themselves and which are not doing enough? Who will be hit the hardest and how much will the damage from sea level rise cost us? To help us understand the impacts, Eastern Kentucky University’s Safety, Security and Emergency Management Program put together this infographic, which discusses in detail the causes, victims, and solutions for sea level rise. Lean more about what’s in store below.. + Eastern Kentucky University The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Surfers drop in for the climate action ride

May 5, 2016 by  
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The World Surf League funds research on ocean health, acidification, coral reef health and sea level rise.

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James Hansen warns dangerous effects of climate change could hit much sooner than we think

March 23, 2016 by  
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Last year a working paper led by retired NASA scientist James Hansen incited controversy , and now, the final version of the research is stirring debate once again. In the paper, Hansen and other international scientists warn that the 2°C Paris limit could still cause irreparable damage to our planet, specifically through polar ice melts , superstorms , and rising sea levels that could demolish coastal cities. And those effects could be felt within decades, not centuries. Read the rest of James Hansen warns dangerous effects of climate change could hit much sooner than we think

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Bioclimatic boarding house keeps naturally cool in tropical Indonesia

March 23, 2016 by  
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US barrier islands and shorelines may be completely uninhabitable in 50 years

January 21, 2016 by  
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While it is clear that climate change is having an active impact in the present , it is still uncertain how climate change will affect the global ecosystem and economic system in the future. Dr. Harold Wanless, chairman of the department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami , believes that projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration underestimate the impact of rapid sea level rise this century. Wanless believes that the world may be in for a 30 feet sea level rise by the end of the century, four times NOAA’s projections, which could make most barrier islands and some shorelines unlivable in 50 years. Read the rest of US barrier islands and shorelines may be completely uninhabitable in 50 years

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Tangier Island in Virginia may be lost to sea level rise in 50 years

December 11, 2015 by  
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As the Obama Administration works to secure a climate deal in Paris, members of Congress don’t have to go far to witness the real impacts of climate change. The historic Chesapeake Bay community located only 91 miles from Washington DC called Tangier Island may share the same fate as the Maldives . Only three miles long and one mile wide, Tangier Island has already suffered a tremendous loss of land over the past two centuries. The island’s land mass is only 33% of its size in 1850 and continues to shrink. According to a recent report from the US Army Corps of Engineers, if the current rate of sea level rise continues, Tangier Island will be uninhabitable within 50 years. Read the rest of Tangier Island in Virginia may be lost to sea level rise in 50 years

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