Beach Erosion Mute Evidence of Sea Level Rise
January 17, 2014
Following massive storms and flooding that recently hit the UK, extensive damages to coastal areas including beaches is showing up.
Beaches, of course, change from time to time, the injunctions not to build on sand are biblical – but humans generally build coastal structures in areas that have remained much the same over some period, and in Europe many such structures have been in place for decades and even much longer – so the damage to the built environment tells us something.
And by ‘us”, I mean, people who step out of the Fox News universe and believe their lying eyes. We have a lively discussion thread going after I posted video of flooding and sea level rise impact in South Florida, something climate deniers seem unable to process.
More pictures at The Guardian.
Similar observations along Florida’s vulnerable coast.
But in South Florida — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties — concerns over erosion and the quest for sand are particularly urgent for one reason: there is almost no sand left offshore to replenish the beaches.
In these communities, sand is far from disposable; it is a precious commodity. So precious, in fact, that it has set off skirmishes among counties and has unleashed an intense hunt for more offshore sand by federal, state and local officials who are already fretting over the next big storm. No idea is too far-fetched in this quest, not even a proposal to grind down recycled glass and transform it into beach sand. The once-shelved idea is now being reconsidered by Broward County.
The situation is so dire that two counties to the north — St. Lucie and Martin — are being asked to donate their own offshore sand in the spirit of neighborliness.
“You have counties starting wars with each other over sand,” said Kristin Jacobs, the Broward County mayor, who has embraced the recycled glass idea as a possible stopgap. “Everybody feels like these other counties are going to steal their sand.”
For more than 100 years, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have monitored tide gauges placed along Key West’s western shoreline. The precise gauges, among the oldest in the country, indicate that over the last century, the sea has risen by nearly nine inches at Key West.
The effects in the Keys are familiar to residents: Low-lying areas such as the northern part of Duval Street, which once were dry after rainstorms, now flood regularly. Low seawalls are often crested by high tides.