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sea level rise

A new study says Louisiana’s coast cannot be saved.

A new study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the federal government should spend $3.2 billion to maintain the levee system around New Orleans over the next 50 years. The study recommends raising the levees and upgrading the flood protection systems in order to match the rising sea levels and sinking land.

In the Lower Ninth Ward, news of future flood risks puts residents on high alert.

A new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says sea levels are rising twice as fast as they used to. They’re also warming up and losing oxygen, meaning climate change will increasingly impact everything from coastal flooding to hurricanes to the number of fish in the sea.

According to the report, about 680 million people (10% of the global population) live in coastal regions less than 30 feet above sea level, and face increasing risks caused by sea level rise, storm intensification, and a host of other issues. Large swaths of coastal Louisiana and the Gulf Coast fall squarely into that category.

To better understand what the report suggests about the future of the Gulf Coast, WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with Dr. Lisa Levin, an oceanographer at UC San Diego and one of the authors of the report.

Louisiana’s soil is sinking much faster than previously thought -- that’s the conclusion of a new report out this week from Tulane University.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO’s Travis Lux speaks with Tulane wetlands geologist Molly Keogh, who authored the report, about what that means for sea level rise predictions in Louisiana.

Scores of coastal research labs around the U.S. are helping communities plan for sea level rise. But now many are starting to flood themselves, creating a dilemma: stay by the coast and endure expensive flooding, or move inland, to higher ground, but away from their subject of study.

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium lab is located along the state's fragile coast, about 80 miles southwest of New Orleans. The giant X-shaped building is at the end of a gravel road, surrounded by open water and grassy marshes.

From the water's edge in Norfolk, Va., the U.S. naval base spans the whole horizon. Aircraft carriers, supply centers, barracks and admirals' homes fill a vast expanse.

But Ray Toll, a retired naval oceanographer, says the "majority of [the naval base], if not all of it" is at risk of flooding "because it's so low and it's flat."

Skip Stiles stands on the edge of a small inlet known as the Hague, near downtown Norfolk, Va. The Chrysler Museum of Art is nearby, as are dozens of stately homes, all threatened by the water.

Last week, scientists warned that a massive chunk of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet will eventually drift into the sea and melt, raising sea levels at least 10 feet higher than previous predictions.

Even before the announcement, scientists at the nonprofit research organization Climate Central predicted that surging seas could put the homes of nearly 5 million Americans underwater by the end of this century.

Florida — especially South Florida — is very flat and very low, and in places like Miami Beach and Key West, buildings are just 3 feet above sea level. Scientists now say there may be a 3-foot rise in the world's oceans by the end of the century.