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State of Texas: Oceanfront Property In Lubbock?

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Sea Level Rise

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • joethepleb

    wah wah we wah!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Loving/1040813947 David Loving

    That’s all? What’s the big fuss?

    • robnixon

      These numbers would be huge on Texas’ barrier islands. Even at half of the projected rises, this would literally put a majority of front row development at the water’s edge costing tax payers billions.

    • Chad Greene

      That’s a great question, David! I am a researcher who studies sea level rise, and these maps always make me cringe because they encourage me to think in terms of, “will I need to get a canoe so I can get to work?” The answer, of course, is no, so what’s the big fuss? One issue is the salinization of aquifers. Desalinating is incredibly expensive and fuel-intensive. A more dramatic problem caused by sea level rise is that even moderate increases in sea level increase the capacity for large-and-getting-larger storm surges to wash over coastal communities. We saw Sandy cripple New York and affect an entire regional economy. A similar storm surge through Houston would absolutely be felt throughout the whole Texas economy.

  • KissMyAss

    The complete loss of the Padre Island breakwater will make shore erosion much worse, and will eliminate some very productive sport and commercial fishing water.

The oceans are rising at an accelerating rate primarily because of climate change. As the planet heats up, seawater responds by expanding. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are making a larger contribution to sea-level rise. Texas' Gulf Coast is especially susceptible because the land is sinking, compounding the problem of rising oceans. Just how much sea rise depends on how much more greenhouse gas we pump into the atmosphere. But even if we never put another carbon molecule into the atmosphere, seas will rise for decades because of past emissions. By the end of the century, half of Galveston could be underwater, according to even conservative estimates. Texas has done almost nothing to prepare for what's coming.

Source: climatecentral.org; Union of Concerned Scientists; University of Arizona
Illustration by: Joanna Wojtkowiak