Let’s say you were lucky enough to receive an invite for dinner at Anthony Hopkins’ house – yes, the Hannibal Lecter actor – you might want to think again before you attend the event. We say this not because of the kind of meat that might be served but because of the fact this house is situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and his backyard is almost gone because of the beach erosion.
You’d be surprised to know that Hopkins’ home is not the only home that has been a victim of beach erosion. All over California, Oregon, and Washington on the West Coast of the US, and in New England and Mid-Atlantic states located on the East Coast, million dollar mansions are vanishing or about to vanish.
Sea levels have risen over eight inches since 1880. However, three of these eight inches have happened during the last twenty-five years. Each year, the sea-level rises by about 0.13 inches, and this is rise is attributed to three factors – all of which are caused by global warming. The three factors are; thermal expansion, melting glaciers, and melting ice sheets.
Thermal expansion is defined as water occupying more space when it heats up. Melting glaciers is self-explanatory and so if the melting of ice sheets. When sea level rises, it creates catastrophic beach erosion. Global warming is also giving birth to stronger and slow-moving hurricanes and typhoons. To combat this situation, a lot of the coastal cities are coming up with plans of adapting to higher sea levels. Jakarta in Indonesia has plans for a $40 billion and eight feet high seawall. Rotterdam in the Netherlands has already built barriers, drainage, and even a water square that features temporary holding ponds.
In the United States, the state of Florida is at the highest risk. The US cities that will be taking a direct hit because of the rise in sea-levels include;
1. New York City, New York
2. New Orleans, Louisiana
3. Miami, Florida
4. Hialeah, Florida
5. Virginia Beach, Virginia
6. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
7. Norfolk, Virginia
8. Stockton, California
9. Metairie, Louisiana
10. Hollywood, Florida
Hurricane Sandy happened back in 2012 and caused considerable damage. Climate scientists are predicting that it is only a matter of time before a similar or even more damaging storm hits the US again. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed an unusual solution which is an artificial extension of the southern tip of Manhattan. However, how it will affect the less affluent areas such as Queens, New Jersey, Brooklyn, and the Bronx has people worried.
Similarly, all over the world, many islands are in the danger of completely vanishing while some have already disappeared from the face of the Earth. In the South Pacific, water level around the Solomon Islands has risen at a rate of about eight millimeters per year ever since 1993. The capital, Choiseul, is only at the height of 6.6’ from the sea level and five reef islands have vanished.
According to the World Bank, the Maldives might go completely underwater by the year 2100. World Bank also states that the sea levels in Fiji will be rising up to 43 centimeters by the year 2050. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that we can expect the oceans to rise anywhere between ten and thirty inches by 2100 with a temperature warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Let’s see if the world will come together to combat this debacle and heed to the warnings of climate change.