Hundreds of Millions of Coastal Dwellers in Hot Water

It was only a few years ago — less than five at any rate — that sea levels were expected by many to rise by inches in the current century.  Then, as the dramatically accelerating decline of the massive glaciers in Greenland and the Antarctic came more into focus, the discussion turned to one of feet of sea level increase.  But every new study brings grimmer and grimmer news and now the discussion centers around yards of sea level increase.  An increase of this magnitude would displace at least one hundred million people and perhaps two hundred million people.  It would also ruin trillions of dollars in infrastructure.

The New Yorker magazine, unarguably the best literary magazine in the world, has an excellent piece out this week on sea level increase, focusing on Miami Beach.  I highly recommend reading the article, titled “The Siege of Miami”, as it gives an excellent overview of not only the big picture of sea level rise, but also of ground-level impacts in Miami Beach.

Currently, sea level increase is less than one inch per year.  In fact, it is currently measured in millimeters.  Thus, for current projections to be anywhere near accurate, a sustained exponential increase in sea level rise must be experienced.  And, as I have pointed out many times in posts to this blog, since all of earth’s systems are intermeshed, the rapid decline of any one system implies a corresponding decline in all systems.  Thus we have one more indication of the rate at which the systems that sustain life on this earth are accelerating in their decay.  The consequences of sin — death — extend not just to humans but to all of creation.  Truly we are in the last days of earth’s history.

Scott Christiansen