[r]eduction in the area and volume of Earth’s two polar ice sheets is intricately linked to changes in global climate and to the resulting rise in sea level. Measurement of changes in area and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet was given a very high priority in recommendations by the Polar Research Board of the National Research Council. On the basis of these recommendations, the U.S. Geological Survey used its archive of satellite images to document changes in the cryospheric coastline of Antarctica and analyze the glaciological features of the coastal regions. Amery Ice Shelf, lying between 67.5° and 75° East longitude and 68.5° and 73.2° South latitude, is the largest ice shelf in East Antarctica. The latest measurements of the area of the ice shelf range between 62,620 and 71,260 square kilometers. The ice shelf is fed primarily by Lambert, Mellor, and Fisher Glaciers; its thickness ranges from 3,000 meters in the center of the grounding line to less than 300 meters at the ice front. Lambert Glacier is considered to be the largest glacier in the world, and its drainage basin is more than 1 million square kilometers in area. It is possible to see some coastal change on the outlet glaciers along the coast, but most of the noticeable change occurs on the Amery Ice Shelf front.
Two inundation events in 2011 underscored the potential for elevated water levels to damage infrastructure and affect terrestrial ecosystems on the low-lying Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The goal of this study was to compare passive "bathtub" inundation models based on geographic information systems (GIS) to those that include dynamic water levels caused by wave-induced set-up and run-up for two end-member island morphologies: Midway, a classic atoll with islands on the shallow (2-8 m) atoll rim and a deep, central lagoon; and Laysan, which is characterized by a deep (20-30 m) atoll rim and an island at the center of the atoll. Vulnerability to elevated water levels was assessed using hindcast wind and wave data to drive coupled physics-based numerical wave, current, and water-level models for the atolls. The resulting model data were then used to compute run-up elevations using a parametric run-up equation under both present conditions and future sea-level-rise scenarios. In both geomorphologies, wave heights and wavelengths adjacent to the island shorelines increased more than three times and four times, respectively, with increasing values of sea-level rise, as more deep-water wave energy could propagate over the atoll rim and larger wind-driven waves could develop on the atoll. Although these increases in water depth resulted in decreased set-up along the islands’ shorelines, the larger wave heights and longer wavelengths due to sea-level rise increased the resulting wave-induced run-up. Run-up values were spatially heterogeneous and dependent on the direction of incident wave direction, bathymetry, and island configuration. Island inundation was modeled to increase substantially when wave-driven effects were included, suggesting that inundation and impacts to infrastructure and terrestrial habitats will occur at lower values of predicted sea-level rise, and thus sooner in the 21st century, than suggested by passive GIS-based "bathtub" inundation models. Lastly, observations and the modeling results suggest that classic atolls with islands on a shallow atoll rim are more susceptible to the combined effects of sea-level rise and wave-driven inundation than atolls characterized by a deep atoll rim.
[t]ide gages show that global sea level has risen about 7 inches during the 20th century, and recent satellite data show that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating. As Earth warms, sea levels are rising mainly because ocean water expands as it warms; and water from melting glaciers and ice sheets is flowing into the ocean. Sea-level rise poses enormous risks to the valuable infrastructure, development, and wetlands that line much of the 1,600 mile shoreline of California, Oregon, and Washington. As those states seek to incorporate projections of sea-level rise into coastal planning, they asked the National Research Council to make independent projections of sea-level rise along their coasts for the years 2030, 2050, and 2100, taking into account regional factors that affect sea level.
Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future explains that sea level along the U.S. west coast is affected by a number of factors. These include: climate patterns such as the El Nino, effects from the melting of modern and ancient ice sheets, and geologic processes, such as plate tectonics. Regional projections for California, Oregon, and Washington show a sharp distinction at Cape Mendocino in northern California. South of that point, sea-level rise is expected to be very close to global projections. However, projections are lower north of Cape Mendocino because the land is being pushed upward as the ocean plate moves under the continental plate along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. However, an earthquake magnitude 8 or larger, which occurs in the region every few hundred to 1,000 years, would cause the land to drop and sea level to suddenly rise.
[t]he Vulnerability Assessment found that between 8-11 percent of Delaware’s total land area could be inundated by a sea level rise of 1.6 feet to 4.9 feet (0.5 meters to 1.5 meters). This includes
- Between 61,000 and 74,000 acres of permanently preserved lands, including wildlife areas, parks, federal wildlife refuges and conservation easements (37-44 percent of the state’s total)
- Between 3,000-17,000 single family homes, apartments and manufactured homes ( 1-5 percent of the state’s total)
- Between 116 and 484 miles of roads and bridges (1-5 percent of the state’s total)For more information on this report visit the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), homepage. The final Sea Level Rise Committee Report is due to be published in 2013.