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Bad News for the Jersey Shore

New Jersey’s leaders have some heavy lifting to do, quickly. Scientists who have reviewed the most detailed study yet produced on the subject of sea level changes over the last 2,000 years are predicting a three-foot rise for the state’s coastline by the end of the century.

Ocean level rise due to melting land-locked ice has proceeded at an average rate of about a tenth of an inch per year since the late 19th century, the study reports. That may seem piddling in the short term, and allows global warming deniers who also happen to be politicians to capitalize on the public’s general scientific illiteracy to evade serious, solution-oriented discussions of the climate crisis. But in the long run, the cumulative sea level rise will spell disaster for inhabitants of coastal regions everywhere. –ARK

The Huffington Post:

The researchers found that since the late 19th century – as the world became industrialized – sea level has risen more than 2 millimeters per year, on average. That’s a bit less than one-tenth of an inch, but it adds up over time.

It will lead to land loss, more flooding and saltwater invading bodies of fresh water, said lead researcher Benjamin Horton whose team examined sediment from North Carolina’s Outer Banks. He directs the Sea Level Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania.

… “This is a very important contribution because it firmly establishes that the rise in sea level in the 20th century is unprecedented for the recent geologic past,” said [Kenneth] Miller [chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University], who was not part of the research team. Miller said he recently advised New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that the state needs to plan for a sea level rise of about 3 feet by the end of the century.

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