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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Sea level rise will threaten New Jersey Coast

New Orleans isn't the only place that will have to worry about rising sea levels. New Jersey the most densely populated state in the nation will have to fight the ocean this century if it wants to keep from getting 3% smaller. The AP reported on a recent Princeton study:

Rising seas caused by global warming and other factors will have dire consequences for New Jersey, submerging sections of the state's highly developed coastline by the end of the century, according to a report released Wednesday (Nov. 16th) by Princeton University.

The Atlantic Ocean, swollen by melting ice caps, could rise by up to 4 feet by the year 2100, moving the coastline 480 feet inland in a worst-case scenario, according to the study co-authored by Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at the university's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

That, in turn, would open the door for so-called 100-year floods occurring every five years, according to "Future Sea Level Rise and the New Jersey Coast," an 81-page report that forecasts an ominous future for the shore.

"We see very high vulnerability on the Jersey coast," Oppenheimer said Wednesday. "These things are not going to happen tomorrow. It gradually unfolds over the course of the 21st century. But we will be spending ever-increasing amounts defending the coast."

...Will gamblers be someday pulling up to Atlantic City's casinos in gondolas instead of tour buses?

The report says:
Sea level rise is a significant and growing threat to New Jersey. The coastal area spans 204 km along the United States mid-Atlantic coast with an additional 134 km of shoreline along the Raritan and Delaware Bays (Figure 1). Structural development along the coast varies from heavily urbanized centers, such as Atlantic City, to sparsely populated agricultural communities on the Cape May peninsula. New Jersey is the most densely populated state with over 8.6 million people inhabiting 19,210 sq km. The coastal region has experienced significant population growth and development over the past 50 years with the population of New Jersey's coastal counties growing from 3,345,010 in 1950 to 5,281,247 in 2000

A projected 1.22 meter (4 foot) rise in sea level would drown approximately 442 sq km, or more than 3 % of the state.

Report: Global Warming May Harm N.J. Coast [abc news, Nov. 16, 2005]
FUTURE SEA LEVEL RISE AND THE NEW JERSEY COAST (.pdf) [princeton.edu, Nov. 2005]
Don't dismiss global warming [Asbury Park Press, Nov. 28, 2005]

Abandon New Orleans - It's doomed! [TJN, Nov. 21, 2005]
New Orleans: Why rebuild a criminal cesspool? [TJN, Sept. 5, 2005]
Ocean Levels Are Rising [TJN, Sept. 28, 2004]
National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise [Woods Hole, USGS.gov]
Impacts of Climate Change in the United States [climatehotmap.org]