Sea Level Rise Will Not Be Uniform

As the climate warms, the world's glaciers and ice sheets are melting, but sea level increase will be greater in some places due to the earth's rotation and gravity, according to a newly released study by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

November 27, 2017, 2:00 PM PST

By Irvin Dawid


Millennium Atoll

The TerraMar Project / Flickr

How much can you expect rising sea levels to threaten your coastal city? The answer lies in part in knowing which glacial ice melts affect it, so planners can determine how much of an increase to prepare for.

"NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab has mapped how changes in these giant ice fields influence sea levels both nearby and thousands of miles away," reports Christopher Joyce, science correspondent for NPR (audio available). "They published their results in the journal Science Advances."

It turns out that in New York City, the sea level would be affected more by melting ice on the northern end of Greenland than much closer ice in southern Greenland, or even ice in Canada.

Scientists are now using this information to predict the future for American cities, but they're also building in a lot of local geographical information.

"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is putting together a sea level rise grid for the country, one that will factor in local conditions as well as the effects of faraway melting ice," adds Joyce.

Sea level decrease?

Yes, melts in the eastern Greenland ice sheet could cause a minor drop in sea level in Norway while raising sea levels off Tokyo by several inches, writes Joyce.

Unrelated to the NASA report, a 2007 study found that the melting of glaciers outside Juneau, Alaska is causing the land to rise faster than the sea level, resulting in net sea level decline.

============================================================================================================================

Jeff Goodell’s new book, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World was reviewed by Jennifer Senior for The New York Times on Nov. 22. While Joyce of NPR indicates that sea level has risen an average of eight inches over the last century, Senior writes that the authors of climate reports for the 2015 Paris agreement estimate sea level rise at over three feet by 2100.

Now many scientists believe that estimate is too low. Some say the sea could rise as much as six feet; others say even more than that.

“For anyone living in Miami Beach or South Brooklyn or Boston’s Back Bay or any other low-lying coastal neighborhood,” Goodell writes, “the difference between three feet of sea level rise by 2100 and six feet is the difference between a wet but livable city and a submerged city.”

"Of all the American cities in this book, Miami seems least equipped to handle a rise in sea level, founded as it is on pleasure, real estate and the inalienable right to not pay state income taxes," adds Senior.

Friday, November 24, 2017 in NPR

The New York Public Library's stone lions Patience and Fortitude have donned face masks to remind New Yorkers to wear face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Top Urban Planning Books of 2021

Planetizen's annual list of the top urban planning books of the year is here—maintaining a tradition that dates back to 2002.

November 26, 2021 - James Brasuell

Empty Road

The Roadway Expansion Paradox

Motorists want expensive roadway expansions provided that somebody else foots the bill, but when required to pay directly through tolls, the need for more capacity often disappears. What should planners do?

November 28, 2021 - Todd Litman

Moving

Urban Exodus: Data Don't Support the Popular Pandemic Narrative

Americans fled cities in waves during the pandemic, right? Not to so fast.

November 30, 2021 - Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

California Homeless

Study: At Least 1,500 Unhoused Died on the Streets of L.A. During the Pandemic

New research represents the first detailed picture of death among people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

12 minutes ago - The Guardian

A mile marker showing mile zero of the Great Allegheny Passage, which is a bike and pedestrian path that begins in Cumberland, Maryland and ends in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Measuring the Economic Impact of the Great Allegheny Passage

Small communities once dependent on coal, coke, paper, lumber, and manufacturing now have a 150-mile bike and pedestrian path contributing to the local economy.

1 hour ago - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Houston, Texas

Houston Could End Homelessness With Less Than 2,000 Housing Units

Houston's homeless response program has yielded strong results in the last few years. Just 1,900 new affordable housing units could 'effectively end' homelessness in the city.

2 hours ago - Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.