Scientists Sound Alarm as Growing Threat Looms Over Coastal States


Scientists sound alarm as growing threat looms over coastal states: 'We're preparing for a disaster'

Coastal communities in the United States are experiencing one of the fastest sea level rises on Earth, with the Gulf of Mexico seeing twice the global sea level rise since 2010.

The rise in water levels is due to small-scale climate events, not just extreme weather such as hurricanes, which pose a greater long-term threat to coastal areas.

Rising sea levels have an irreversible impact exacerbated by human-induced climate change, leading to concerns about the vulnerability of communities, infrastructure, and natural barriers to catastrophic storms.

Scientists have warned about the ongoing threat of rising sea levels caused by an ever-changing climate.

What is happening?

A detailed Washington Post report revealed that coastal communities across eight states in the United States face "one of the fastest sea levels rises on Earth." Since 2010, satellite data show that the Gulf of Mexico has seen twice the global rate of sea level rise, with more than a dozen tide gauges stretching from Texas to North Carolina recording sea levels at least six inches higher than in 2010. 14. Years ago.

While many assume that extreme weather events such as hurricanes are the source of these changes, experts revealed that rising water levels face a "newer and more insidious challenge" in the form of accumulation caused by smaller weather events.

"To me, that's the story: We're preparing for the wrong disaster almost everywhere," Rob Young, director of the Advanced Beach Study Program at Western Carolina University, told the newspaper. "These small changes will pose a bigger threat over time than the next hurricane; there's no doubt about that."

The Washington Post reported that water levels in Charleston, South Carolina, reached the fourth highest level since the city began tracking them in 1899, with the city's average rising by seven inches since 2010. Jacksonville, Florida, saw an increase of six inches. During that period, the city of Galveston, Texas, saw a full increase of eight inches over 14 years, the newspaper said.

Why is this worrying?

Such rapidly rising water levels are uncommon, and to make matters worse, experts believe they are here to stay even if the rate of rise eventually tapers off.

"Since 2010, it has become extremely abnormal and unprecedented," Jianjun Yin, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona, said in the newspaper report. "It's irreversible."

Rising global temperatures cause warmer currents that cause water to expand. However, as the newspaper explained, humans caused climate change due to harmful gases and a lack of environmental concern, contributing to these issues.

According to the newspaper, the rising levels have particularly affected Louisiana. Wetlands that are supposed to serve as somewhat of a buffer against catastrophic storms have become vulnerable in what the newspaper said scientists have described as a "drowning condition." This problem could make the state more vulnerable to major weather events.

The newspaper said that in the rest of the American South, failing sewage systems can lead to contamination of water sources. During large storms, roads can be flooded and leave residents in the community cut off from access to medical care and other important needs. Moreover, many of these coastal states have previously made headlines as being "vulnerable" to home insurers raising rates, canceling plans, or leaving entirely — with some insurers long gone.

What can be done about it?

Officials are trying to find ways to combat these issues. In Galveston, for example, there is a plan to create pumping stations using funding provided through federal grants, the newspaper reported.

We can help by reducing carbon pollution, such as switching to electric cars, supporting local food sources, choosing local species when planting, or volunteering for local clean-up projects in areas where sea level rise poses a threat.

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