Rising sea or sinking land?

Isle de Jean Charles, LouisianaSixteen states’ attorneys general (and one from the US Virgin Islands) are currently in the process of subpoenaing Exxon-Mobil and conservative/ libertarian think-tanks for internal information they assert will show the so-called “climate deniers” have colluded to deceive the public regarding climate change.

Rising sea level is a perennial bone of contention among climate-change alarmists. In a recent interview, TV personality Bill Nye “the science guy” stated “the first climate-change refugees” were being rescued from a sinking village in a Louisiana bayou.

Rising sea level, allegedly driven by man-made global warming, is often theorized by warmists as the culprit causing shore-line erosion worldwide. But natural processes, not a hypothesized CO2-driven sea rise, play the dominant role.

The Biloxi-Choctaw villagers on Isle de Jean Charles, La., are not unique in their predicament, being subject to frequent flooding. Adversity faces some residents living on coral atolls in the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu both in the South Pacific and on certain Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean.

For centuries Venice, Italy, has contended with waters from the Adriatic, rising into its iconic canals. Actually the land under the city is slowly sinking by a natural process referred to as “subsidence.” The sheer weight of the ancient city forces out water from underlying sediments and the compaction results in subsidence. Coastal areas where sea water encroaches onto adjoining land, are more properly described, not as examples of “sea level rise” (SLR) but as “relative sea level rise” (RSLR), as measured by tide gauges. As land sinks, the ocean appears to rise.

Subsidence is the principal cause for flooding and shoreline erosion at the mentioned locations and other places as well. The open ocean continues to rise at only 6-7 inches per century averaged on a millennial scale.

An article in National Geographic describes how Pacific coral atolls are shaped by storms. Surprisingly, most are not losing their land area. Corals grow fast enough to keep pace with RSLR as they deposit new shell material, maintaining an optimal level for the growing reef. Then as major storms inflict physical damage to the structure, broken coral fragments are gathered by wave action to anchor new land along the lee of the atoll. Commonly more material is added to the atoll than is lost to deeper surrounding water.

It’s not uncommon for low-lying islands like coral atolls to form, disappear (partially or completely), then re-form as corals adapt to change. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has existed for millions of years and survived numerous assaults, including rise and fall of sea level on at least four occasions during the past million years. Nature is indeed resilient.

But what of the fate of humans living on land a few feet above high tide? What can be done?

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  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    Now let’s all be patient and give them all the rope they need to hang themselves.

    They will eventually blame the flooding of Venice on AGW.

    I’m serious, if we wait they’re bound to make that claim.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    4TimesAYear

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    Thank you for addressing this issue – I’ve been asking this question (and answering it) for a very long time. Much of what’s going on in the Hampton Roads (the area specified when the RICO meeting was held) area is subsidence as well. Studies suggest that half of sea level rise is due to subsidence: [url]http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/study-sinking-land-not-rising-seas-a-bigger-worry/article_7aecf794-1a6e-5eed-ba0a-3e00af6e78f9.html[/url] One study concludes:
    [quote]Major Conclusions • Land subsidence and global sea-level rise combine to cause relative sea-level rise in the southern Chesapeake Bay region. • Land subsidence causes more than half of the observed relative sea-level rise. • Aquifer-system compaction causes more than half of the land subsidence.[/quote]
    The PDF is here [url]http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1392/pdf/circ1392.pdf[/url] – the above quote is from pg 26.
    Essentially, those AGs were going to sue over their land sinking – not sea level rise. Maybe they knew it was subsidence and were just after the money, but if not, they should have done their research before getting on board with Gore. *smh*

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  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Rising seas …Happy fish . Who would deny a cute little crab more playground ?
    Bill Nye comedian and dancer likes to lather up fear to promote his niche, the go to sound bite source for the earth has a fever . What if he was a real scientist ? Imagine the terror ?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    David Lewis

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    Sediment normally contains a lot of organic material. What does organic material do over time? It decays of course. As it decays, there is less of it resulting in the sediment that contains the organic material to sink.

    Reply

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    Jim

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    As a working professional geologist of 40 years I am qualified to help clear up some of the questions and terminology concerning Sea Level.
    Geologists divide sea level changes into two general categories: 1.) “Eustatic”…which are worldwide sea level changes the result of significant events such as mass melting (sea level rise) or freezing (sea level drops) of polar ice caps. This type of sea level change equally effects all regions of the world. 2.) “Non-Eustatic”…which are geographically local changes in sea level related to a number of physical or non-physical forces such as: local tidal forces, shoreline erosion, sediment compaction, etc.
    During the last approximately 50 years Eustatic sea level has only risen 0.1 inches per year, for a total of 7.4 inches. This amount is entirely within the range of expected sea level rise in the on-going post glacial period.
    Claims that specific Pacific Islands are being dramatically effected by human induced sea level changes are false. These changes are due in large part to Non-Eustatic sea level changes, minus 7.4 inches….Short story, you are being misled with intent. Some might interpret this as lying.

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  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Jim
    Thank you for the explanation . Apparently
    the earth has a fever flock didn’t get the memo .
    So what you are saying is the Hollywood
    climate preachers servants don’t have to fret about moving beach furniture for at least another 50 years .
    Lying ? The scary global warming cartel lie ,
    please say it ain’t so . You mean Polar Bears aren’t drowning after all ?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    Jim, thanks for the cogent contribution. Alarmists love to portray coastal erosion as unique to contemporary times and directly linked to “man made” climate change.

    Hogwash.

    Coastlines are constantly being reshaped by the unrelenting forces of nature, and it has nothing to do with impossibly tiny influences of man made CO2.

    Oh, the hubris…

    Reply

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