Welcome to sealevelrise.com: trying to figure out how to slow a rise in ocean levels and to cope with more frequent coastal floods amid an accelerating thaw of Greenland and Antarctica.
Rising seas will be among the worst impacts of global warming – swamping coasts in a slow-motion disaster that will keep going for centuries.
I’m Alister Doyle, a freelance reporter who worked as Environment Correspondent for Reuters from 2004 until March 2019. During that time I also spent 2011-12 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship.
I’ve covered U.N. negotiations about climate change that led to the Paris Agreement, as well as the science of global warming. I’ve been to Antarctica twice and covered annual U.N. meetings on climate change in Milan, Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen, Cancun, Doha, Warsaw, Lima, Paris, Marrakesh and Bonn.
In the worst case this century, rising seas will force tens of millions of people from their homes in low-lying regions from Bangladesh to Egypt, from Sydney to Miami, and swamp island nations such as Tuvalu or the Maldives.
But will the rise be 50 cms by 2100, a metre, two, even more?
No one knows – and scientists say there are still many “unknown unknowns” about the future of the ice sheets.
This site (just relaunched after I started it while at MIT) will try to track scientific projections and connect coastal communities with planners, engineers and architects — anyone who’s interested.
How can you plan when the uncertainties are getting greater, not less?
In the worst case, how many people will have to move inland, or even abandon their homes in the Pacific or Indian Oceans? Will rich nations be building dikes like the Dutch? Or barriers such as across the Thames or in the Venice Lagoon? Will Miami or New York find the needed funds?
This site will try to show how. Please get in touch.