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US Geological Survey Report – U.S. Climate Change Science Program. Coastal Sensitivity to Sea Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region

By January 6, 2009March 25th, 2014Beaches coastal, Sea Level Rise

(784 pages) The last time that the planet was as warm it is today, sea level was 13 to 20 feet higher.  The temperature of the planet will warm about another 2 degrees even if we were to stop emitting all CO2 tomorrow morning. It is likely that sea level will rise to these levels in several hundred years. (Note: climate models used for these predictions are proven conservative and they do not include abrupt sea level rise from dynamical ice sheet disintegration.) Nearly one-half of the 6.7 billion people around the world live near the coast and are highly vulnerable to storms and sea-level rise.  The average sea level rise for the last half of the 20th century was 1.2 to 1.5 mm per year. The last 10 year average sea level rise is 2.0 mm per year. Today’s sea level rise is 3.3 mm per year.  Sea level rise above 7 mm per year will destroy most of the barrier islands on the East Coast and most of the wetlands as well.