Wednesday, 9 July 2014

When the ocean begins to flood a city.....

An object lesson for the Abbott Government and many communities on the east coast of Australia....

Quartz 30 June 2014:

The usual US partisan divisions over climate change were absent today in the state of Virginia, where Republican and Democratic officials met to discuss what to do about the threat of rising sea levels to the state. The proposals include the launch of a climate-change task force, which Virginia's Democratic governor will announce tomorrow. Christina DeConcini, government affairs director at the World Resources Institute, a research organization, told Quartz this is the first time to her knowledge that Republican leaders (very few of whom accept global warming is both real and man-made) and Democratic ones have come together to craft a policy on global warming.
That's probably because Virginia is more vulnerable to storm-surge destruction than anywhere else on the US's east coast. Problems are particularly acute in Norfolk, Virginia's second-biggest city and home to the world's largest naval base; sea levels there are now 14.5 inches (37 cm) higher than they were in 1930—so high that parts of Norfolk flood when the moon is full. Sea levels are rising faster there than anywhere else along the coast, due to the vagaries of ocean currents:

Sewells Point is a peninsula off Norfolk.Natural Resources Defense Council

"A severe Category 2 or a Category 3 storm—if we were to receive a direct hit, almost all of the city would be underwater," Paul Fraim, Norfolk's mayor, told National Public Radio in 2012.
This doesn't mean that high tide is lapping at Virginians' front doors. The main danger comes when storms pummel the coasts with huge waves, which are amplified by tidal forces. Here's an illustration of how high tides and storm surges, as they're called, differ:
"Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide"


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