Saturday, January 17, 2009

How High Is The Water?
Well it is rising. Not as fast as the Johny Cash song but on the east coast it is rising faster than elsewhere.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sea levels on the United States' mid-Atlantic coast are rising faster than the global average because of global warming, threatening the future of coastal communities, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday.

Coastal waters from New York to North Carolina have crept up by an average of 2.4 to 4.4 millimeters (0.09 to 0.17 inches) a year, compared with an average global increase of 1.7 millimeters (0.07 inches) a year, the EPA said in a report.

As a result, sea levels along the East Coast rose about a foot over the past century, the EPA's report, commissioned by the Climate Change Science Program, said.

The EPA focused on the mid-Atlantic region because it "will likely see the greatest impacts due to rising waters, coastal storms, and a high concentration of population along the coastline," the agency said.

No governments are really talking about what should be done. California has a commission to study sea level rise but it has not made a report yet.

Scientists have said the rate sea levels are rising has accelerated. By the end of the century, global sea levels could be seven to 23 inches higher, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted.

Federal, state and local governments should step in now to prepare for the rising seas, said the EPA along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, who contributed to the report.

Governments should protect residents through policies that preserve public beaches and coastal ecosystems and encourage retrofits of buildings to make them higher, the agencies said.

Engineering rules for coastal areas used today are based on current sea levels and will not suffice in the future, the report said.

Flood insurance rates also could be tweaked to accommodate risk from rising sea levels, the report said.

We need to stop insuring the risky developments near the shore.

No comments: