March 11, 2013

Louisiana facing highest sea level rise on earth

Port Fourchon experienced serious flooding
from Hurricane Ike in 2008. 
Stunning new data shows Louisiana is losing its battle with rising seas much more quickly than even the most pessimistic studies have predicted to date.

While state officials continue to argue over restoration projects to save the state's sinking, crumbling coast, top researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have concluded that Louisiana is in line for the highest rate of sea-level rise "on the planet." Indeed, the water is rising so fast that some coastal restoration projects could be obsolete before they are completed, the officials said.

When new data on the rate of coastal subsidence is married with updated projections of sea-level rise, the southeast corner of Louisiana looks likely to be under at least 4.3 feet of gulf water by the end of the century.

That rate could swamp projects in the state's current coastal Master Plan, which incorporated worst-case scenarios for relative sea-level rise calculated two years ago— which the new figures now make out-of-date. 

Port Fourchon experienced serious flooding from Hurricane Ike, which made landfall in Galveston, Texas in 2008. Scientists say such flooding will become more common, even in smaller storms, as the coast sinks and sea level rises.

Post a Comment