Sea-Level Rise

Sea-Level Rise

Sea-Level Rise

My research led me to look into sea-level rise. I was checking on a city on the east coast close to where hurricane Florence made landfall: Virginia Beach. I learned that the town was unaffected. That’s good news.

Laura Wood Habr, owner of Croc’s Bistro in Virginia Beach writes in the Virginia-Pilot, “Owning a business just a few blocks from the Oceanfront in the ViBe Creative District comes with constant risks and rewards. But the federal government has given up on addressing the biggest environmental threat of our time, putting waterfront communities such as Virginia Beach further in harm’s way.”

Sea-Level Rise

Climate change is driving warmer temperatures, raising sea levels and making extreme weather events more frequent and severe — all of which threaten businesses like mine. Climate change has already raised sea levels on the Virginia coastline by a foot and a half in the past 100 years, and it’s only speeding up.

Another foot higher, and overflow from Little Neck Creek in the Lynnhaven River watershed will begin to separate my business — and everything else east of Cypress Avenue — from the mainland. Five feet higher, and we suddenly will need canoes for our commute to work. Twenty-thousand people in Virginia Beach live below that 5-foot elevation mark — and $5.7 billion worth of property is located there.

I checked to see if the oceans have been rising. According to a good source the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Global sea level has been rising over the past century, and the rate has increased in recent decades. In 2014, global sea level was 2.6 inches above the 1993 average—the highest annual average in the satellite record (1993-present). Sea level continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year.

Laura Wood Habr worries about a foot increase and what that will do to her business. Most dire climate change predictions focus on 2050, which is 32 years away. If the oceans rise about 1/8 inches a year, by 2050 the oceans will have risen by 4 inches. I don’t think Laura has to worry. How about that foot rise she’s worrying about? That is 96 years from now. Will she even be in business in 96 years?

Humans make one big mistake in looking at trends.

They expect the trend to continue into the future just as it has in the past. That applies to the stock market or real estate. Until 2008, only a few people thought real estate would crash. After all, real estate is a great investment. It never goes down. They aren’t making any more of it.

We learn that the trend is your friend. Tell that to the people involved in the Tulip Mania, or the South Sea Bubble. How about the stock market bubble in 1929.

Don’t get sucked in by the arguments of the climate change warriors. Of course, climate changes. We have periods when there is plenty of rainfall and then we have a drought that lasts as long as the rainy period. The arrival of a drought has killed many ancient civilizations. I suspect we are closer to global cooling than global warming.

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