Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Coming soon to a coast near you--more frequent flooding

Coastal flooding and our responses to it are an on-going and growing concern in North Carolina.

The outlook isn't getting any better. The New York Times reports
About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research.

If the pace of the rise accelerates as much as expected, researchers found, coastal flooding at levels that were once exceedingly rare could become an every-few-years occurrence by the middle of this century.
The researchers have put together a web-site showing low-lying areas that at risk of flooding.

Meanwhile, the Carolina Journal has recently said we should all just stick our collective heads in the beach sand.
State officials are pressuring local governments to plan for a one-meter sea-level rise by 2100, even though many independent scientists have argued the rise is highly unlikely if not impossible.

Even though a state advisory panel no longer recommends regulations based on the one-meter projection, local government officials worry that state regulators will try to implement those rules.

Such a policy, they say, would have a devastating impact on coastal economies, property values, and citizens’ ability to secure financing and property insurance. North Carolina also would become the first state to enact policies consistent with a projected sea-level rise of that magnitude.

In a 2010 report (PDF), the Coastal Resource Commission’s Science Panel said the sea level is likely to rise one meter by 2100. Now the commission is drafting policy “encouraging” coastal communities to consider accelerated rates of sea-level rise in local land-use and development planning.

A group of independent scientists have challenged the panel’s report, pushing the CRC to revise its draft sea-level rise policy so that the regulations in it read more like suggestions and the one-meter benchmark no longer appears.

There’s nothing scientific about the way the science panel came up with its one-meter projection, said John Droz, a physicist and environmental activist. Droz, with the help of more than 30 other scientists, wrote a critique (PDF) of the panel’s “NC Sea-Level Rise Assessment Report.”
The "independent" scientist who is quoted is actually a realtor who stopped working professionally in the sciences in 1979 and who is working on behalf of a pro-development coalition NC-20. The "30 other scientists" were sent copies of the report.

As Chico Marx once said, "who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes."