Aerial view of coastal erosion in Venice, Louisiana, 1956-2010. At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, NOAA scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater. Graphic: ProPublica

By Bob Marshall
28 August 2014

(Scientific American) – In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy.

And it’s going to get worse, even quicker.

Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed.

At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater.

The effects would be felt far beyond bayou country. The region best known for its self-proclaimed motto “laissez les bons temps rouler” — let the good times roll — is one of the nation’s economic linchpins.

This land being swallowed by the Gulf is home to half of the country’s oil refineries, a matrix of pipelines that serve 90 percent of the nation’s offshore energy production and 30 percent of its total oil and gas supply, a port vital to 31 states, and 2 million people who would need to find other places to live.

The landscape on which all that is built is washing away at a rate of a football field every hour, 16 square miles per year. [more]

Losing Ground: Southeast Louisiana Is Disappearing, Quickly

2 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    The earth was once covered with ice. How did that ice melt?  

  2. Survival Acres said...

    I don't see the problem - except for perception and understanding.

    Human refusal to work within the boundaries of nature and natural variability, plus our contribution to rising seas "creates the problem" that must be "combatted".

    This is a war we started. Again.

    If we hadn't built mega-populations and industries where we don't belong there would be no issues here.

    But now, the war will last as long as we do. And try as we might, we are not going to defeat Nature.  

 

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