Sea Levels Rise, Survival Fails. Who Gets Saved, And Who Gets Left Behind?

While you’ve been flipping out on the econopocalypse and tripping on Obama or the batshit losers in the Republican Party, something terrible has been proceeding without fanfare. Ice shelves and glaciers are evaporating like Michael Jackson’s career, raising sea levels around the world and jacking up the climate.

The bad news? Coastal cities, which means most of the Earth’s most densely populated cities, are due for a drowning. The good news? Well, there is no good news. I explained the rest in a piece for AlterNet that went live last week.

Sea Levels Are Rising: It’s Time to Decide Which Coastal Cities Are Worth Saving
[Scott Thill, AlterNet]
Since April Fool’s Day expired, there has been nothing but bad news about Earth’s various ice shelves circulating through the news. Antarctica’s Wordie and Larsen ice shelves? The first is simply gone, and the second is disappearing fast. How about the Connecticut-sized Wilkins shelf? It has fragmented into polar pieces after the ice tether holding it to the Antarctic peninsula snapped this week, signaling that the Earth is undergoing some profound changes.

So what do melting ice shelves a world away have to do with the rest of us? That is where the fools come in.

“This continued and often-significant glacier retreat is a wakeup call that change is happening,” USGS glaciologist Jane Ferrigno explained in a joint United States Geological Survey and British Antarctic Survey on the melt. “Antarctica is of special interest, because it holds an estimated 91 percent of the Earth’s glacier volume, and change anywhere in the ice sheet poses significant hazards to society.”

In other words, giant ice cubes the size of American states melting into the ocean should worry everyone on Earth living in a territory with a coast, and even those without. That includes California, which went under the climatalogical microscope in a recent Pacific Institute analysis on sea-rise bankrolled by the California Energy Commission, California Department of Transportation and the Ocean Protection Council.

Mashing together data on exponential polar melts, rising seas and coastal development, it came to a relatively reasonable conclusion.

“Sea-level rise will change the character of the California coast,” Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate and study co-author Heather Cooley, tolddrow AlterNet. “My sense is that there are areas we will protect and areas we will abandon. We need to begin the process now.” MORE @ ALTERNET

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