That Sinking Feeling: Rising Oceans Already Displacing Humans

The Relocation of Alaskan Villages Will Create The First Official American Global Warming Refugees

Kivalina is a once and soon to be former coastal village in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska.

While the right wing knuckle-draggers in the Republican Party continue to deny it’s happening, the oceans of the world are coming up fast. The actual time frame is impossible to know, but the main processes are easy to understand.

    • The oceans are heating up faster than previously believed, which causes the volume of the waters to expand. (Can you work with that Senator Inhofe?)
    • Conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic continue to decline in terms of how fast land ice is slipping into the seas and melting, (Too complex for you, Junior Cruz?)
    • As sea ice disappears, it leaves open areas of dark water, which absorbs radiant heat from the sun rather than reflecting it back. This is a classic positive feedback loop.(Still flip flopping, Senator Rubio?).

Here is a run down of some of the places on the planet that are “already” experiencing the reality of rising seas.

Kivalina and Newtok, Alsaka:Both towns are expected to be inundated within a few years (Newtok as soon as 2017, Kivalina as long as nine more years) as rising waters and sinking land combine to eat up the remaining dryish land. The sinking of the land is caused by the rapid melting of the permafrost layer, which will have to be renamed. Erosion has also accelerated due to more powerful storms, which are in turn driven by higher water temperatures. The towns will be evacuated and relocated, but it isn’t clear who will pay for the process. Exxon, perhaps?

Miami/South Florida: The mayors of the various cities that make up the South Florida megaplex has written a letter begging the Republican candidates to put down their fossil fuel cool aid and pay attention to the slow motion disaster unfolding in Miama/Dade and Broward Counties.

Norfolk/Hampton Roads: The US Navy and the Defense Department have issued a new directive that instruct the various branches of the service to plan for global warming as a global security threat. The world’s largest military shipyard at Norfolk, VA is directly threatened by rising seas. More here.

Olympia, WA: Officials for Pacific Northwest capital city Olympia, WA have called a meeting to discuss a “heightened sense of urgency” regarding increased flooding in downtown Olympia.

Fairbourne, Wales “Decommissioned?” The Welsh government’s Shoreline Management Plan 2 indicates that Fairbourne and other towns in the west of Wales will be see a meter’s worth of ocean rise in the next 85 years. The locals are suing the commission because the news has understandably had an effect on property values. The commission plans to decommission the town.

Kiribati has become the global poster child for disappearing islands…to the degree that anyone cares.

Kiribati Atoll Water supplies on the rapidly sinking Pacific island chain as sea water moves ashore. Kiribati’s leaders have been looking for a new home for the population as the atoll disappears beneath the waves.

Sundarbans Delta, Bay of Bengal The sea has already engulfed the traditional homes of tens of thousands of former residents in this delta region the spans the border area between India and Bangladesh. The regions of about 13 million is predicted to be mostly underwater in one to two decades.

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