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Sea levels: going up? Geo-engineering answers?

Rising sea levels get engineers' attention.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

A British study uses a new model to project the fate of the huge Antarctic Ice Sheet. This new model is based on satellite data indicating the sheet is thinning and melting into the sea. If that melting continues it likely means higher sea levels. Fifty years from now people will know whether this model works.

In the United Kingdom they're openly talking about moving some of their coastal cities uphill, away from the ocean. Another possibility is building up: stilts and other uplifting engineering. The latest report estimates as many as ten million people in the UK live in the coastal danger zone right now. And engineers are eagerly suggesting mega-projects to combat rising sea levels.

In North Carolina officials have been warned they could see the submergence of the Outer Banks. But it's New Jersey that was recently warned about its spot as #1 for coastal flooding along the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Some of the low-lying nations in the Persian Gulf are spending their petro-dollars to figure out what they might be up against if sea levels rise as projected. Not comforting for the United Arab Emirates with huge swaths of relatively flat coastal territory.

India is another nation concerned about rising sea levels along its long coastline. It has risen 9mm there in a recent five-year period.

I've blogged before about some famously flat nations like Bangladesh, Maldives, Tuvalu and other island nations worried over the threat of rising sea levels.

If sea levels do continue to rise as projected, many nations from India to Britain and Netherlands may be willing to spend considerable money on large engineering projects. No major new geo-engineering projects have yet been approved or funded by any government for combatting sea level increases. Much of the The Metherlands is already a major geo-engineering project going back centuries. So is Venice, Italy. London has its tidal barriers on the Thames. California's San Joaquin Delta and New Orleans are two big American geo-engineering projects from the past. Poorer nations may just sink beneath the sea, their citizens evacuated to higher ground. New Zealand has already agreed to accept climate refugees from some low-lying Pacific island nations, for example.

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