Report: Rising sea level threatens national landmarks

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Climate change and global warming could soon wipe out classic and iconic American images, according to a report issued Tuesday, May 20 by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Climate change and global warming could soon wipe out classic and iconic American images, according to a report issued Tuesday, May 20 by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Climate change and global warming could soon wipe out classic and iconic American images, according to a report issued Tuesday, May 20 by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Statue of Liberty, the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Jamestown, Va., and Plymouth Landing are just a few of the 30 at-risk locations listed in the 84-page report titled “National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites.”

The list includes locations where America was born, where the first Pilgrims landed and where modern-day explorers once soared into space to orbit the Earth and land on the moon.

Yet all of these prized locations could vanish because of rising ocean waters caused by global warming, the report says.

Waters could lap against Absecon Island Lighthouse again

In Atlantic City, rising waters could once again lap at the base of the Absecon Lighthouse once again as it did in the middle to late 1800s.

The Statue of Liberty is under attack by rising ocean waters caused by global warming according to a report issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Statue of Liberty is under attack by rising ocean waters caused by global warming according to a report issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists. East coast, South Jersey remain at risk

“Local land subsidence is also a factor. As a result, many coastal areas are likely to progressively become inundated; for example, the sea level rise along the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts is among the highest in the world,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

Boston increasingly at risk

For example, in Boston, 10 of the 20 highest tides over the last 100 years have occurred since 2004, the report said. By 2050, coastal Massachusetts could suffer $237 million a year in damages on average due to coastal flooding.

Historic Jamestown remains under attack

At Jamestown Island in Virginia, the threat from sea level rise is so strong that archaeologists are reconsidering their usual practice of leaving artifacts in the ground for future generations to discover, lest rising waters submerge them forever, according to the report.

Sea level rise forces government to move historic lighthouse

“Because of the threat of shoreline erosion, the National Park Service moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, America’s tallest brick lighthouse, further inland at a cost of $11 million,” The Union of Concerned Scientists said.

When the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was constructed in 1870, it was 1,500 feet away from the Atlantic Ocean. Rising sea waters caused by global warming pushed the Atlantic Ocean to within 120 feet of the historic structure before it was moved.

Historic Charleston, S.C., under threat by rising waters

“Parts of the Old and Historic District of Charlestown, S.C., a national landmark district that contains more than 4,800 historic structures, some dating back to the 1700s – are regualrly flooded by summer thunderstorms,” the report said. “These impacts will become more severe and frequent in the coming decades, as global warming brings still higher sea levels and heavier rainfall events.”

Global warming caused by human factors

“Earth’s global average surface temperature has risen since the late 1800s. Scientists are more certain than ever that since 1950 the warming has been largely due to human activities, mostly from the heat-trapping emissions produced by the burning of coal, oil, and gas to provide energy,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

East coast, South Jersey remain at risk

“Local land subsidence is also a factor. As a result, many coastal areas are likely to progressively become inundated; for example, sea level rise along the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts is among the highest in the world,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

Scientists issue urgent call to action

“We must prepare our cherished landmarks for these worsening climate impacts and take steps to make climate resilience a national priority. At the same time, we must work to minimize these risks in the future by reducing the carbon emissions that are causing climate change and its accompanying impacts,” the report concluded.

See the full Union of Scientists report

For a full copy of the report, click here.

 

 

 


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