An inch here, an inch there...sometimes it’s easy to forget that sea levels continue to rise around the world and soon all those inches will add up.
The most recent scientific calculation—which includes projections for Greenland and Antarctica’s melting ice and its effect on sea-level rise—suggests that by 2100 the sea will have climbed by 30 inches to six feet.
What do those numbers mean to city managers trying to predict the future of life on the edge? Many are already making plans. Which in many cases means literally packing up and moving on.
“I like to think of it as getting out of the way gracefully,” David Revell, a senior coastal scientist at ESA PWA, a San Francisco-based environmental consulting firm, told the Associated Press.
In Britain seawalls have been purposely breached to create salt marshes, which act as natural barriers against flooding. In Alaska entire villages have been forced to move to higher ground. Meanwhile, several Atlantic states have adopted no-build zones and setbacks and ordered homeowners not to build seawalls, which have proven to be largely inadequate against rising seas.
Here’s how five different states are making plans for a future of higher tides.
(Photo: Andy Nelson/Getty Images)