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CO2 breaks the 400 level. Significant?

In the last few days there were headlines that carbon dioxide levels (CO2) broke the four hundred level for the first time in millions of years. It is worth commenting on that milestone. The record of CO2 is known as the Keeling Curve named after Charles David Keeling who pioneered the long term study in the early 1950's.

Places where sea level rose from 4 to 46 inches last century

Over the last century sea level rise has been almost 8 inches (20 cm) as a global AVERAGE. One might assume that sea level would be the same everywhere, adjusting for waves, storms, and tides.  Not true.

Surprisingly the amount of sea level rise varies considerably.

In some places it has increased by more than three feet. In others just four inches. A range of US locations is shown on this clear graphic from the Union of Concerned Scientists

The primary reason for the difference is that the reference viewpoint is the nearest land mass.  Land moves up and down, known as "uplift" or "subsidence." In other words, sea level appears to change relative to the nearby land. If sea level rises 3 inches and the land subsides (lowers) 2 inches, sea level rise in that location would be five inches.

In places where land is subsiding or sinking, SL rise will be greater. Examples shown are Grand Isle, Louisiana, near New Orleans on the high end, and Los Angeles California on the low end. California is generally on the low end since the west coast plate is rising fractions of an inch. In the coming decades the increased rate of SL rise will most likely overwhelm the rate of land rise.

In Alaska sea level appears to be going down because the land is rising faster than sea level, though not shown on this chart. In the decades ahead it is quite clear that the melting ice sheets will produce even greater sea level rise (SLR) overcoming even the rate at which Alaska is rising.

My Trip up the New Jersey Shore - Devastation and Rebuilding

 

It has been just six months since New Jersey and New York were smashed by Superstorm Sandy.  I am linked to that disaster in a special way as has been told hundreds of times personally and on television to millions in the US and the UK.

As you probably know my book described exactly such a storm in that location just a week before it happened. Ever since I have wanted to see the damage first hand. For the last two weekends I finally got to see the scene of the disaster up close. I drove the entire New Jersey shoreline from Cape May through Asbury Park. It is a contrast of devastation and rebuilding.

All along the coast there are areas of apparent normality, with homes in tact. Then there will be areas where they are still totally smashed and destroyed as if it happened recently.  

Apparently the latter are still waiting for insurance processing to proceed with demolition.With summer fast approaching it is obvious that this will be anything but normal for most of these communities.

In the scene of contrasts in this photo, the roof of one home just smashed into a house that appears to be in rather good condition otherwise.

One of the most widely circultated images following the storm was that of a roller coaster ride that came to a rest on the wrong side of the beach. It can be seen here still sitting out in the ocean. Next to me in the foreground, one can see fresh lumber building the famous boardwalk in Seaside Heights, trying to get ready for the summer tourism season.

Englander on Morning Joe MSNBC April 29

I was invited to be a guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe program, with host Joe Scarborough. Monday, April 29th,  a special show for the six month anniversary of Superstorm Sandy originating from the Jersey shore.  To watch the five minute segment CLICK HERE.

It was a little confusing for me, being my first time on live national TV. Instead of the usual studio it was a temporary stage on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was a stormy morning with a light rain -- I thought a perfect backdrop to recollect Sandy. The hosts, Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle, Jon Meacham, and Mika Brzezinski were great. They all took pictures with me holding up the book. See Facebook for the photos.

Watching the video is a little humbling, but allows me to see what to do differently next time. Overall I really enjoyed it and found the questions to be insightful. I now see clearly that different show formats require different length answers. For this one I should have gone for the shorter responses.  Next time...

An added bonus was that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was also on the program though in a different segment. I got to spend some good time chatting with he and his wife Mary Pat in the "green room" which was in fact a very enjoyable restaurant, right on the beach. The governor was extremely personable and impressive in his focus on the issues without any partisan agenda. He appreciated getting a copy of my book and said he may call me after he reads it.

As a point of reference, my book, High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis was published on October 22, exactly one week before the storm. It was eerie timing since one of the possible scenarios described in the book was a superstorm hitting Atlantic City and New York City -- almost exactly as it occurred.

Earth Day Weekend - Showcased High Tide On Main Street

The last few days have been busy yet rewarding. Largely due to the focus on Earth Day -- April 22nd -- there were many special opportunities to add to the awareness of my book, High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis

From a tour  of the damage in the area around Atlantic City, to a presentation at The Explorers Club on Earth Day, to being featured in USA TODAY as one of the twelve best environmental books of the year, it has been a full schedule. The response from diverse audiences has been gratifying.

Vital Voices of the Environment Video - John Englander

I am proud and honored that the environmental consulting firm Marstel-Day has chosen me for their "Vital Voices of the Environment" interview.  It is available on Youtube [Click] .  It is being released for Earth Day 2013. 

If you can find opportunities to use or promote it, please do so. Thank you for sharing.

 

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