Global Warming and The Impact of Sea Level

Global Warming and The Impact of Sea Level

Global Warming and The Impact of Sea Level Rise on Rhode Island John King Professor of Oceanography Graduate School of Oceanography

University of Rhode Island The Problem Whats going on? Increased Carbon Emissions

Rising Temperatures Rising Sea Level Indicators of human influence on the atmosphere Changes in Temperature, Sea Level and Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover

Courtesy of IPCC, 2007 Rising Temperatures Rising Temperatures

Courtesy of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global and Continental Temperature Change Courtesy of IPCC, 2007 hanges in annual average temperature in the Northeas

Changes in sea surface temperature Maine Rhode Island climate migration Courtesy of the Union of Concerned Scientists

Rising Sea Level Four contributions to sea level rise 1. Thermal expansion of seawater

2. Melting of glaciers and ice caps 3. Ice sheet surface mass balance snowfall - melting

4. Ice sheet surface dynamical imbalance increased flow rate

Types of barrier islands Evolution of barrier islands during Holocene sea level rise Sea Level Rise: Observed vs. Projected

Interval Observed Model Prediction mm/year mm/year

1993 - 2003 3.1 2.6 1961 - 2003 1.8

1.2 Projected globally averaged surface warming & sea level rise at the end of the 21st century Courtesy of IPCC, 2007

2006 - IPCC estimate 1. Thermal expansion of seawater .......... 28

cm 2. Glaciers and ice caps ......................... 12 cm 3.

Mass balance cm 4. ..................................... - 3 Total: 40 cm

Increased flow ................................... + 3 cm Range of Estimates: 18-59 cm

Sea level rise projections Observed and Projected Sea Level Rise by 2100 projected QuickTime and

QuickTimedecompressor andaa observed TIFF (Uncompressed) TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are areneeded

neededto tosee seethis thispicture. picture. Church & White, 2006, Courtesy of IPCC, 2007

Sea Level Rise: Observed = Projected projected observed QuickTime and a QuickTimedecompressor and a TIFF (Uncompressed)

TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. are needed to see this picture. Sea Level Rise: New Estimates

Reference Total Rise By 2100 (feet) (feet)

Overpeck, et al, 2006 >3 13 - 20 Rahmstorf,

2007 1.6 - 4.6 --- Greenhouse Gases in Ice Cores

From Brook, E. J., 2005. Science , 25 vol. 310. no. 5752, pp. 1285 1287 Rising Sea Level in Rhode Island ~ Southern Coastal Ponds

Sea level rise: 3 feet Overpeck, J. T., et al., 2006. Paleoclimatic evidence for future ice sheet instability and rapid sea level rise. Science, v. 311, p. 1747 1750. Sea level rise: 20 feet

Overpeck, J. T., et al., 2006. Paleoclimatic evidence for future ice sheet instability and rapid sea level rise. Science, v. 311, p. 1747 1750. Quonnie Pond: present sea level Quonnie Pond: 3 ft. sea level rise

Quonnie Pond: 20 ft. sea level rise Global Impacts of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Courtesy of IPCC, 2007 Planning Needs

1. Seamless digital terrain model for RI LIDAR survey of coastline High-resolution bathymetry of coastal waters 2. Inundation model

Storm surge with wave regime superimposed Better understanding of coastal erosion style and rate Expanded Rhode Island sea level and coastal erosion monitoring program Perhaps our epitaph will be:

The good Earth. We could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

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