Sea Level Rise Visual Reference in the year 2096

We continually read about Sea Level Rise. Using NOAA data from two reporting stations in our area, we can average a rise of 1.01 ft. in the year 2096. The below image provides a visual reference for our area:

(This is a visual reference based on historic data and should not be used as a scientific resource)

(NOTE: CLICK ON MAP FOR FULL VIEW)

Brunswick County NC Sea Level Rise - 1 Foot

Source:

NOAA Sea Level Trends: www.tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/
Climate Central Sea Level Rise Map:  www.sealevel.climatecentral.org/

Comments

  1. Larry Cahoon says:

    These projections are based on linear extrapolations, and the difference between the two locations’ SLR estimates are ‘interesting’ – one is about a mm/yr lower than the current global average, one about 1 mm higher. Linear extrapolation ignores accelerations observed in the past 20 years, and also ignores accelerations expected from continuous global warming, with seawater expansion and glacial ice melt the main contributors. Even when those factors are not taken into account, a foot is a lot of extra seawater height with which to contend. Unusually high astronomical tides even now cause coastal flooding problems, even without significant wind effects or storm surges.

  2. Larry Cahoon says:

    Let me add to the comments I made above. “Linear extrapolation” means that a straight line is assumed to represent the trend going forward in time, in this case to 2096. Underlying that assumption is the belief that the factors driving sea level rise will not change during that time period. My comment was that an assumption of business as usual going forward is likely wrong. Three factors are now known to be driving sea level rise: 1) Ice melting, 2) sea water expansion, and 3) human withdrawal of groundwater that then enters the fast hydrological cycle (water now in circulation through rivers and the atmosphere). The third factor is a function of human population growth, demand for irrigation water, and the technology to extract deep, old water from aquifers. This will accelerate in the coming decades. The first two factors are a function of global heating, which is also accelerating as loading of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere also accelerates. Annual greenhouse gas loadings have about doubled in the last half century. Bear in mind that although the heat trapping effects are rapid, the time for the earth-ice-ocean heat sinks to respond by warming up is slow, so there is a long time to equilibrium, meaning that warming of the oceans and melting of ice caps will continue to accelerate for > a century at least. Consequently, given the massive nature of all these drivers (human population growth, energy and water use, and greenhouse gas emissions), it is highly likely that the sea level response will be more rapid than a simple linear projection would suggest.

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