Sea levels are reportedly much higher than what was predicted for this century and they are continuing to rise. It is almost frightening to wonder: how much damage have we already done with greenhouse gas emissions? In an article by USA Today (1), scientist and author, Benjamin Strauss, described the rising sea levels as an “invisible threat”.

What does this mean for us? A new study states that it could take hundreds of years, but “at least 316 U.S. cities and towns will be mostly submerged unless pollution can be pulled from the sky.” Prior emissions have already promised 4 feet of future sea-level rise.

Strauss’ analysis calculated that 3.6 million Americans are already at risk because they live below the predicted future high tide level line. In the article, he continues to explain his prediction that if current emissions continue, hundreds of U.S. cities will see half of their residents sink below the tide line as follows:

  • Galveston, TX (2030)
  • Miami (2040)
  • Norfolk, VA (2044)
  • Coral Gables, FL (2044)
  • Virginia Beach (2054)

Typically, research around this topic only focuses on the upcoming century. However, as Peter Ruggiero, a coastal engineering scientist at Oregon State University, points out, “The world does not end in 2100”.

Pollution cuts along with technology that will rid existing CO2 from the atmosphere could preserve hundreds of communities and save millions of people from the threat of rising sea-levels. Utilizing alternative forms of energy is just one of the ways to make these pollution cuts. The action that we take now could potentially save millions of lives in the generations to come.

 

 

(1) “Study: Sea-level rise threatens 1,400 U.S. cities.” USA TODAY: Latest World and US News – USATODAY.com. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.