Rising Sea Levels

An Introduction to Cause and Impact


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About the Book

The fundamental point of this book is that, in the past, the world’s political, economic, military and social development took place during a time of relatively stable sea level. That time, however, is now over: The world must begin to cope with rising seas.
This book is a wide-ranging introductory survey. It addresses global warming, the hydrologic cycle, why we should care about the rise of the oceans, storm surges and other extreme events, the changing seas and their shorelines, cities and countries of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian ocean basins, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Greenland Ice Sheet, case studies on how the Netherlands and the U.S. plan to cope with sea level rise, the likely impacts of this rise, getting to know the experts on sea level rise, and very long term prospects for the world’s shorelines.

About the Author(s)

Hunt Janin is an American writer living in southwestern France. He has written numerous nonfiction and scholarly books on a range of subjects, including medieval history and cross-cultural studies.
Scott Mandia is a professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, New York. He has authored numerous weather and climate-related publications both in print and online.

Bibliographic Details

Hunt Janin and Scott A. Mandia
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 219
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, graphs, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5956-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0020-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction      3

I. A Short Primer on Global Warming      9

II. The World Ocean and the Hydrologic Cycle      20

III. Why Should We Care About the Rise of the Oceans?      24

IV. Storm Surges and Other Extreme Events      39

V. The Changing Seas      48

VI. At the Edges of the Sea      53

VII. Cities and Countries of the Atlantic Ocean Basin      60

VIII. Cities and Countries of the Pacific Ocean Basin      78

IX. Cities and Countries of the Indian Ocean Basin      91

X. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet      100

XI. The Greenland Ice Sheet      106

XII. A Range of Options to Cope with Sea Level Rise

Two Case Studies—the Netherlands and the United States      110

XIII. Impacts of Sea Level Rise      119

XIV. Getting to Know the Experts      133

XV. Very Long Term Prospects for the World’s Shorelines      149

XVI. Conclusions: Looking Ahead      158


1. Climate Change Conferences: The 2009 Copenhagen, the 2010 Cancun and the 2011 Durban      163

2. The Impact on Ports of a 3.2 Foot (1 Meter) Sea Level Rise      164

3. Extreme Event Analysis      165

4. Sea Level Rise and Breakwater Damage      166

5. Possible Dutch Responses to a Sea Level Rise of 16.4 Feet (5 Meters)      167

6. Using a Bayesian Network to Predict Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise      168

Chapter Notes      171

Bibliography      183

Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

“Janin and Mandia are to be commended for their impressive writing skills, intelligent presentations, and unusually intensive information-gathering efforts…valuable…highly recommended”—Choice; “excellent new book…well-referenced and scientifically accurate”—Skeptical Science; “if you’re looking for a comprehensive discussion of one of the most pressing issues on the planet…the threat of global sea level rise…then this is the book for you.”—Michael E. Mann, Penn State University, Nobel Peace Prize winner.