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U.S. East Coast a Hotspot of Sea-Level Rise 266

Posted by timothy
from the because-of-all-the-sand-pumping-projects dept.
Harperdog writes "Nature just published this study of sea-level rise and how global warming does not force the it to happen everywhere at the same rate. Interesting stuff about what, exactly, contributes to this uneven rise, and how the East Coast of the U.S., which used to have a relatively low sea level, is now a hotspot in that the sea level there is rising faster than elsewhere."
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U.S. East Coast a Hotspot of Sea-Level Rise

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  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:39PM (#40453849) Journal

    Global warming is myth. The sea levels are rising on the east coast of the US because all the fat Americans are causing a shift in mass distribution and locally higher gravitational forces.

    The nurse is here with my medication...brb

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by trout007 (975317)

      I think Congressman Hank Johnson would agree with your theory.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg [youtube.com]

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      It's really happening and the concentration around the East Coast confirms my worst fears of the hot air coming out of Washington DC.

      • by dcw3 (649211)

        Washington sucks badly enough that nobody needs to worry around here.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by DarkOx (621550)

      Right even the head line is bias, sea-level rise is liberal talking point, if they want us to take the article seriously they should use politically neutral language like "persistent coastal flooding".

      • by GreenTom (1352587)
        Sea level rise has been directly measured by satellite since 1992. The data's [noaa.gov] pretty solid. I'm tempted to add something sarcastic, but I guess the right thing to do is de-escalate. Measurements are measurements, throwing around unwarranted accusations of bias IMHO does nothing but help our society's decay into superstitious tribalism. I kind of like the scientific era and would like it to last.
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:41PM (#40453873) Journal

    I'm not an expert, I've tried to research this, but I find contradictory information which I assume is related to the political nature of the issue. In a nutshell, why can't we use GPS to determine the actual impact of rising sea levels? It would seem to me to be very elementary to place some sort of beacon in a few spots to determine what the actual sea level is. Granted, you might have to wait for calm waters, but nothing about this seems difficult.

    • Re:Question (Score:4, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:46PM (#40453957)
      GPS is nowhere near accurate enough. You are talking about yearly see-level variations of a handful of millimeters a year. GPS is only accurate to a few centimeters, at best, with maximum augmentation (practically the error is in the range of 10 cm or more). Nowhere near good enough.
      • So what is good enough? Does the handful of millimeters manifest in any directly measurable way? Is there a natural amplifier? Maybe it's translated to increased horizontal incursion of the daily tides? I'm not on any side or a denier or anything here, but I have to admit some of the numbers tossed around on this issue sound like they're down in the noise. Maybe it's just my comm theory background talking.

      • Re:Question (Score:4, Informative)

        by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @01:01PM (#40454201) Homepage Journal

        GPS is nowhere near accurate enough. You are talking about yearly see-level variations of a handful of millimeters a year. GPS is only accurate to a few centimeters, at best, with maximum augmentation (practically the error is in the range of 10 cm or more). Nowhere near good enough.

        One of the fun things about chasing around with a GPSr, looking for Geodetic Survey markers is you learn a bit about them and the equipment used to place them. How did they get these elevations so darn exact? Well, pull your heads out of your digital-electronic-technology-saviour-for-everything sand pile and realise a very good quality spring with a reference weight and scale can tell you far more accurately what your elevation is, based upon readings taken at nearby sea level. 100 years ago they could tell you within 1 inch the elevation of a marker and to the best of satellite measure, these are still very accurate (using the sort of equipment they have at their disposal.

        So not likely to be so much a case of local gravity fluctuation, try thinking what else could explain it? More fresh water introduced from Greenland Ice cap and Polar melting? Given time it will flow around the continents, but if the melt is happening fast enough that which has flowed to the Pacific and Southerly Atlantic is being replaced at a similar, if not accelating rate.

      • by ClintJCL (264898)
        Precision != Accuracy.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekmux (1040042) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:48PM (#40453993)

      I'm not an expert, I've tried to research this, but I find contradictory information which I assume is related to the political nature of the issue. In a nutshell, why can't we use GPS to determine the actual impact of rising sea levels? It would seem to me to be very elementary to place some sort of beacon in a few spots to determine what the actual sea level is. Granted, you might have to wait for calm waters, but nothing about this seems difficult.

      Yes, you're right, nothing about this does seem difficult. All we have to do is remove the political influence driven by greed.

      Wow. I just realized I asked for the impossible. No wonder this has gone nowhere.

      • How about a test for sociopathy (or whatever they're calling it now) before being declared fit to run for public office?

        Nah, the sociopaths would claim discrimination. And people would agree with them. Never mind.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ackthpt (218170)

        I'm not an expert, I've tried to research this, but I find contradictory information which I assume is related to the political nature of the issue. In a nutshell, why can't we use GPS to determine the actual impact of rising sea levels? It would seem to me to be very elementary to place some sort of beacon in a few spots to determine what the actual sea level is. Granted, you might have to wait for calm waters, but nothing about this seems difficult.

        Yes, you're right, nothing about this does seem difficult. All we have to do is remove the political influence driven by stupidity.

        Wow. I just realized I asked for the impossible. No wonder this has gone nowhere.

        FTFY

        Humans are the only animal known to destroy their own habitat.

        • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Antipater (2053064) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @01:17PM (#40454429)

          Humans are the only animal known to destroy their own habitat.

          I laughed, but then I got a creeping suspicion you were actually serious. Why do people always say this? It's just flat-out wrong.

          • by rrohbeck (944847)

            Exactly. All animals destroy their habitat unless something slows them down.
            Humans on a fossil fuel binge, mice in a grain silo, there's no difference. They overshoot until the primary energy source is exhausted and then they crash.

          • Re:Question (Score:4, Informative)

            by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:19PM (#40456513)

            You're right, it is wrong. Lots of animals will overfeed their habitat if their population grows too large; of course, then they have a famine, their population dwindles, and the problem is corrected. Humans, OTOH, invent new ways to grow crops to increase yields or find some other way of allowing an ever-increasing population.

            However, what is true is that humans are the only animal known to destroy their own habitat, while being intelligent enough to understand what they're doing. A herd of overpopulated wild deer eating all the available food probably don't actually understand the long-term effects of what they're doing.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          "Humans are the only animal known to destroy their own habitat."

          The Matrix is not a reliable source for information about ecology and comparative zoology.

          • by ackthpt (218170)

            "Humans are the only animal known to destroy their own habitat."

            The Matrix is not a reliable source for information about ecology and comparative zoology.

            Who is referencing the Matrix? This is an older observation that piece of fluff.

            • by ceoyoyo (59147)

              Then whatever you are referencing is no more reliable than late 90's action movies. Shepherds five thousand years ago knew very well that their herds would happily destroy a field by grazing unless they were forcibly moved around, or kept in check by predators. The truth is closer to the opposite of what you've stated: humans are the only animal to have shown the ability to self regulate their activities to maintain a viable habitat.

    • GPS is completely over engineering the solution. All you really need is a stick that you take measurements from during low and high tide at a consistent time each year.

      • by Rei (128717)

        Not that easy. Localized water depths / land heights are often changing, and entire regions can be rising or subsiding. When you're looking to measure millimeters per year or even fractions of a millimeter against a background of tides, waves, storms, etc, you need precision.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        What exactly are you sticking that stick in that isn't going to be moved or reshaped by the water flow over a few years?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've tried to research this, but I find contradictory information which I assume is related to the political nature of the issue. In a nutshell,...

      Perhaps you should be a bit more discriminate in your sources when you do research.

      Here's some help: ignore Talk Radio Hosts, Fox News , and industry backed Think Tanks with "advisers" who have scientific PhDs in everything BUT Climate Science. (ALL of whom tell half truths and lies ).

      That should make things a bit more clear.

    • It is an easy problem only from a technocrat's view, but for everyone else it is a screaming horror.

      Say you own some ocean front property. It is a few inches less than it was a decade ago. 10 years from now it will be worse.

      You don't want less land because you have less to sell. The government doesn't want you to have less land because it is prime real estate and those tax dollars matter. So we sit back and try to kill the messenger for as long as possible.

    • Can you give an example of some of the contradictory sources? (Sourcing them should quickly uncover what is going on.)
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      If you read the article, they're reporting findings from sea level monitoring stations all around the east coast of North America.

    • Just wait after the whole planet gets jailed for breaking the NC law (no extradition necessary since Earth already stands with one foot in NC, you just have to pull). Such puny micro-flora as mankind will be behind bars, then, as well.
    • Sorry but legislating against the sea rising was already tried 1,000 years ago [viking.no]. It didn't work then either.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Wow way to twist a reasonable law into a MSNBC-style rant by Ed Schultz.

      All the law says is that homes will not be eligible for government-paid flood insurance if they are not in the zones that previously recorded flooding (since 1900). Why? Because North Carolina can't afford to provide free insurance to nearly the whole state. MOST people comprehend that the money supply has limits..... others like George "duh" Bush drive-up 10 trillion dollar debts.

      • by mrsquid0 (1335303)

        The bill is posted at . It does not have anything to do with government-paid flood insurance. It primarily has to do with the distance that structures must be set back from high tide lines and the replacement of structures damaged by stories (Section 3). The rest of the bill has to do with defining various environmental impacts (Sections 4 and 5).

  • Story on the paper (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ananyo (2519492) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:47PM (#40453971)

    Nature also has a story [nature.com] on the research for those seeking an overview.

  • by kbob88 (951258)

    That beachfront property I bought in West Virginia will be worth millions! Going to go out and buy a surfboard today! And will go buy a Hummer 2 to speed things along! Surf's up, dude!

  • great news. was kinda bummed the last time I read an article on rising sea levels to learn that even if the entire polar caps melted, it wouldn't actually flood all that far into the east coast. But, coupled with this phenomena of uneven level rise, that stain may be washable after all!

    Mod me to hell if you want, but I still say that if it takes ten dead polar bears to drown one NYC hipster, those noble bears will not have died in vain! C'mon global warming, let's get to work!

  • by Mr. Firewall (578517) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:52PM (#40454077) Homepage

    ...of CAGW. It's been, what, 2 1/2 years now since it was exposed as a hoax?

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      No, it was an evil plot by murderers and terrorists! Didn't you see the Heartland billboard?

  • Hotspot! I see what you did there. Ha!

    Even the sea cannot resist the trendy go to locations along the Jersey shore!

    No worries. The ban in NYC on large sodas should reduce the amount of pee flowing into the ocean enough to counteract the sea level rise on a local level.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Hotspot! I see what you did there. Ha!

      Even the sea cannot resist the trendy go to locations along the Jersey shore!

      No worries. The ban in NYC on large sodas should reduce the amount of pee flowing into the ocean enough to counteract the sea level rise on a local level.

      Entering the Flood Control Dam #3 controll room you hear a ghostly voice echo, as if played over a tannoy somewhere in the distance, "Drill, Baby, Drill!"

  • by na1led (1030470) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:54PM (#40454101)
    If you put a house right on or near the beach and it gets washed away, don't make the rest of us pay for it!
  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:55PM (#40454117)

    I thought a report was just published that the ocean levels are rising because of humans sucking water out of underground reservoirs and dumping in into the ocean,

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      That is just one factor and probably the smallest of them. The two biggest are water expanding as it warms and ice melting from glaciers and ice sheets.

  • It's all the runoff from the BosWash.

  • It's OK (Score:4, Funny)

    by srussia (884021) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @12:57PM (#40454145)
    According to TFA, the sea-level is receding on various spots on the west coast (Seattle, San Francisco). Looks like the country tilting right!
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @01:00PM (#40454181) Journal

    ~Oh, disaster! The sea level rise on the east coast might be TRIPLE that of the world average in our previous prediction. It might rise 14 to 20 inches over the next century! That's as much as a whole 2 tenths of an inch per year! They're all going to drown.~

    Somehow I'm not impressed. While it might be nice to see New York and Washington become awash, this is a number of orders of magnitude too low to be useful.

    Compare this to Venice (which still seems to be doing very well, thank you.)

    • It might rise 14 to 20 inches over the next century!

      Nobody's ever built a 14" sea-wall.

      They're all going to drown

      Lucky them - the rest of us will be bursting into flames.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @01:06PM (#40454265)
    The TOPEX satellite has been measuring the whole ocean surface for 18 years and found it has risen about two inches [colorado.edu] at a very even rate of increase. Various scientists attribute about 80% of this to thermal expansion of warmer oceans and the rest to melting ice. Although the ocean surface temperature appears to to have gone up a bit, that may bot be indicative of the total thickness of the ocean. The best proposed temperature experiment- measuring the speed of sound half around the world- has been tied in environmental litigation. The sound source might hurt marine animals hearing is the claim. The sound source is not an explosion, but a distinctive wide-frequency chirp that can be integrated at the receivers over a period of hours. This experiment would be repeated every few years to look for changes in sound travel time, which would show temperature changes of water velocity.

    Local tidal guides or GPS would be affected by vagrancies of local land level changes, which are rather common. This ranges from ice age rebound, sediment deposition loading, sediment erosion unloading, and even a bit of tectonic rise in the Appalachians. And this Nature article says the pattern of water circulation in a region can change locally too, contribution to an apparent LOCAL sea level change.
  • Continental Shft (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linuxrunner (225041)

    Last I check, we're on these floating masses called "plates" and they actually move around, shift and stuff. Some get pushed under others, etc. Wouldn't that simply explain why one section might be seeing a change in sea level and not another?

    Lastly, why does everyone panic when the world changes a little? We have fish fossils on mountain tops, dinosaur bones, the land mass used to be one large hunk of land. Mountains were created through plate shifts and valleys and hills formed by ice ages. So, knowi

    • by StefanJ (88986) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @01:25PM (#40454561) Homepage Journal

      . . . go get yourself some new talking points.

      Seriously, the old "Oh, well, things have changed in the past, so what's the worry?" canard?

      The processes you describe took place over millions of years.

      We're talking relatively drastic changes, over the course of decades, on a highly developed area of an increasingly crowded and interdependent planet.

      If a drunk driver speeding through a red light ran over your dog or your kid, would you accept the driver saying, "Look, people die in accidents all the time. In seventy years, a trivial fraction of the age of the Earth, your kid would likely be dead anyway. Calm down and accept change as a normal part of life. And anyway, can you really prove it was my car that killed your kid? Maybe you wiped his blood on my bumper so you could sue me, and infringe on my right to drink and drive!"

      • The processes you describe took place over millions of years.

        Maybe so, but then again, we have no idea how it changed from decade to decade do we? Where there was once a river, now there is a gorge. The water level went down. Over the course of a few decades could have gone down a few inches every year. So by your theory, we should panic the entire way over something we could do nothing about.

        Seems a little dumb to me.

        Ice that once covered a large area eventually receded. Ice that was actually once during MAN's time. It's slowly went away and things warmed up.

    • Last I check, we're on these floating masses called "plates" and they actually move around, shift and stuff.

      Yep. I'm not a geologist but I don't think "floating masses" is a particularly great analogy. Gravity does have an effect on them at that point but once you hit turtles, I wouldn't bother digging any deeper.

      Some get pushed under others, etc. Wouldn't that simply explain why one section might be seeing a change in sea level and not another?

      So where has this been throughout history? I mean, we've been building cities near water forever -- you would figure there would be a lot more stories of cities swallowed by the sea. Also, tectonic plates move about 2 centimeters each year. So if we start to see sea levels indicating more movement t

      • Yep. I'm not a geologist but I don't think "floating masses" is a particularly great analogy. Gravity does have an effect on them at that point but once you hit turtles, I wouldn't bother digging any deeper.

        Everest alone is growing ~ 2 inches every year. That's just there. So yeah... A geologist you are not.

    • by Moses48 (1849872)

      Three are a few reasons we are worried about climate change and sea level rise:
      1. Who moved my cheese!?
      2. Some people actually think we're at the utopia of climate and land mass.
      3. While large affluant coastal cities will need more sophisticated ways to deal with SLR, they will be able to handle this with money (ie: tech know how). The poor coastal cities will require mass migration of humans, and this will likely result in deaths if there is any amount of ra

  • This must be a belated April Fools' joke, like the petition to ban DHMO. How can the worldwide ocean's surface level rise more in one area than another?

    I mean, it's liquid water. Won't any tiny local variation in average surface height be quickly spead out and normalized by our old friend: Mr. Gravity?

    Am I missing something?

    • Among other things, you're missing wind and the rotation of the earth. The Pacific ocean is about 20cm higher than the Atlantic. Science is fun!
    • by daq man (170241)

      Yes you are missing something. If the sea water was of exactly the same density, which varies with salinity and temperature, and was dead calm, and the rock under the sea was a uniform density so gravity was the same everywhere then what you say is true. Also the sea bed rises and falls too. Just off the East coast shore, we have the Gulf Stream which is a flow of warm, and therefore less dense water moving North. Not only is it moving North but the East coast juts out and it has to flow around the coast. S

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Try a simple experiment. Pour a glass of water. Blow over the top. See how the water piles up on one side?

  • Snookie got pregnant.

  • I read recently that the melting of the Antarctic ice shelves and related glaciers has caused the crust there to rise up a few cm. Maybe other plates are subsequently sinking, and the plate under the East Coast is just more susceptible to this sinking effect than others that have been measured? I am not a geologist, so feel free to point out if this is ridiculous (that's if you are a geologist, I'm not taking B.S. from just anybody...).

  • So, let me try to understand this summary: What is being said is that Information Technology is some how bound up in this rising sea level problem. I don't get it. And, uh, the rising sea level makes it hotter too? Hotspot? Really, I'm not actually as confused as the summary.
  • Data point: Mean sea level at various harbors has been tracked since the mid 1800s. Sea level rise at New York since 1856 has been quite linear at +2.66 mm/yr (0.91 feet per hundred years).
    Link:
    http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8518750%20The%20Battery,%20NY [noaa.gov]

  • For the ocean to be rising higher only on the east coast there must be some attractive force acting to cause the water to flow from the rest of the world to accumulate on the east coast of the US. Gravitational surveys show no gravitational anomalies that could explain this. Prevailing winds are usually from the west in this area which would tend to push the water off shore. No evidence has been found to support the possibility that slower off shore wind speed could be allowing more water to flow back to sh
  • by Kozz (7764) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:06PM (#40457175)

    Quoth TFS:

    Nature just published this study of sea-level rise and how global warming does not force the it to happen everywhere at the same rate.

    Imagine what would happen if the editors accidentally the whole summary?

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