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Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:38 PM

 

Rising sea, sinking land put NJ shore in 'hot zone'

http://www.thedailyjournal.com/article/20120819/NEWS01/308190001/Rising-sea-sinking-land-put-NJ-shore-hot-zone-
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Rising sea, sinking land put NJ shore in 'hot zone'

4:22 PM, Aug 19, 2012 |

The Holgate Refuge at the southern tip of Long Beach Island has suffered severe erosion over the years, and was made worse last year by Hurricane Irene. A large section of the already replenished beach has been washed away. / Gannett NJ photo/Tim McCarthy
Written by
Jeff Montgomery, Molly Murray
and Kirk Moore


Percentage of New Jersey shore counties susceptible to flooding:

Cape May — 53.4%
Atlantic — 34.8%
Ocean — 29.3%
Monmouth — 10.5%
Middlesex — 15.4%
Inch by inch along parts of the East Coast, global climate change is running in what scientists warn is geology’s version of fast-forward — swamping and eroding beaches, wetlands and farm fields.
Shorelines from North Carolina to New Jersey to Boston are in a “hot zone” for sea-level rise and will experience water levels rising at double the rate of most places on the planet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s largely because of a geologic double whammy: In addition to a rising sea level, this stretch of coast is also slowly sinking.
Scientists say the treasured lifestyle of residents along the coasts of the Mid-Atlantic could change dramatically by the time this year’s high school graduates are retirees.
The larger issue for taxpayers is where to spend money and energy attempting to hold back the ocean — and where to retreat and allow nature to take its course.
Humans already have changed Earth’s atmosphere by releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide and similar heat-trapping gases from power plants, vehicles and other sources, scientists say.
The resulting rise in air and sea-surface temperatures, along with melting glaciers and land ice, will push up sea levels globally by more than 18 inches by 2100.
Along the New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland coasts, sea levels could rise faster and higher — nearly 1˝ feet in the next 40 years, and 3˝ to nearly 5 feet by the end of the century.
That could swamp tens of thousands of homes and businesses along the coasts. Barnegat Bay’s surviving salt marsh wetlands could disappear within a few decades. Water supplies for communities along the Delaware River could be threatened by brine water incursions.
Eroding beaches
At the south end of Long Beach Island, the future is staring at Holgate residents. Motel owner Bill Hutson anxiously keeps watch on the steeply eroded beach a few hundred feet east at McKinley Avenue.
Just south, the beach and dunes in a wildlife refuge already have swung hundreds of feet west in relation to the rest of the heavily developed island. Storm waves scour low spots in the refuge, and locals and coastal scientists expect a new inlet can break through any time.

“We’re really trying to get a beach replenishment project,” said Hutson, who has urged the state and Army Corps of Engineers to move up Holgate on Corps’ beach-building priority list. “I’ve talked to Gov. (Chris) Christie twice about this. … It’s one of God’s most beautiful beaches in the world. We need the governor to help us save this end of the island.”
Army Corps staff have been busy during the past 20 years, and that’s why other New Jersey’s beaches look as good as they do.
“At most all the sites we look at … the shoreline and the sand volume are farther seaward and bigger than it was in 1986,” said professor Stewart Farrell, a coastal geologist and director of the Coastal Research Center at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, which monitors beach conditions and advises many Shore towns.
But the real front line in sea level rise is not the beach. It’s the bay shores, Farrell said.
“The bayside is going to drown first because it’s low,” Farrell said. “All of the bayfront elevations (at ground level) are at 6 or 6.5 feet” above low tide levels. “Margate and Ventnor’s back sides flood even on the spring tide” once a month now, he said.
An early casualty of the rise will be Barnegat Bay’s surviving salt marsh meadows — the base of the bay’s food chain, where particles of spent plants feed marine life.
“The big wide meadows would disappear almost overnight” if the rise accelerates, said Farrell, adding that for now he thinks marshes are holding their own. The rate of rise is key, he said, for the marshes to accumulate organic matter and slowly build themselves up.
More frequent flooding
Kenneth Miller, a Rutgers University scientist who helped brief Christie on recent sea-level rise issues earlier this year, said opinions are increasingly zeroing in on a three-foot sea-level rise over this century, although numbers could go higher.
Different people will focus on different time frames and different risks, he added.
“While you potentially have a mortgage, the sea-level rise you should be planning for is a foot,” Miller said. “If you care about your grandkids, its a different story, and if you care about the ethics of the situation, what you’re giving the next generation, that’s the point where you get into debates with skeptics” about the global future.

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Reply Rising sea, sinking land put NJ shore in 'hot zone' (Original post)
SugarShack Nov 2012 OP
hollysmom Nov 2012 #1
FarCenter Nov 2012 #2
SugarShack Nov 2012 #3
tilsammans Nov 2012 #4

Response to SugarShack (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:04 PM

1. holgate - that is where my place is

I have to make a decision this week - repair or trash it. It will cost me several thousands to trash it, probably more than to repair it.

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Response to SugarShack (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:45 PM

2. Paleotempestologists know that storms have washed sand over Long Beach Island before

Core samples from Barnegat Bay and other bays behind barrier islands have been taken. These show layers of organic material buried by layers of sand which has been washed over the barrier islands by storms.

Since the beginning of the Holocene the barrier islands have been moving westward as the ocean side erodes.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:12 PM

3. Keep this kicked to educate, and the link has more interesting info

 

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Response to SugarShack (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:45 PM

4. K & R! n/t

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