It’s not a hundred years off – it’s now

I met Skip Stiles (featured in the below story) at a 2014 conference in Charlotte. Skip heads up Wetlands Watch in Virginia.  He and I were making presentations on sea level rise.

Skip told me that his efforts in Norfolk to get the business community to start planning for rising seas wasn’t getting much traction. My response was that he shouldn’t be talking to big businesses that will simply relocate when the ocean level gets too high.

He should instead be focusing on local small businesses.

My presentation that day was on the success of an ongoing project started in 2013 by the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce to educate small businesses along our coast of the dangers of sea level rise and asking for their help in educating the public by posting signage.

Just two years later Norfolk and other Atlantic coast communities no longer have to be convinced that the seas are rising.

The story below quotes scientist William Sweet of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “It’s not a hundred years off – it’s now.”


The New York Times
September 3, 2016

Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

By Justin Gillis

NORFOLK, Va. — Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.



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