The climate and the oceans have warmed beyond the point of no return. According to a new book from oceanographer John Englander, there is nothing we can do to stop the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Rising sea levels are now inevitable. By the end of this century, sea levels could be 10 feet higher than they are today.
The societal impacts of sea level rise will be immense. The shoreline as we know it will be completely reshaped, inundating parts of 10,000 coastal communities around the globe and rendering millions of homes, buildings, roads, and other infrastructure worthless or unusable. Some coastal cities could see flooding every day by mid century, less than 30 years from now. Low-lying cities like Miami, New Orleans, Copenhagen, and Shanghai could be virtually erased.
[Photo: courtesy of Moving to Higher Ground]Englander’s book, Moving to Higher Ground: Rising Sea Level and the Path Forward, makes the case that we need to start planning and designing for this massive disruption today. The book is oriented toward those most directly able to help the world’s coastal communities redesign themselves: engineers, urban planners, architects, and policymakers, plus the financiers and insurance companies that often determine what actually gets developed.