Outer Banks house
A house on North Carolina's Outer Banks, which are in a hotspot for sea-level rise. (Photo from the U.S. Geological Survey.)

INSTITUTE INDEX: NC still fighting the science of sea-level rise

Number of scientific papers that have been published this month reporting that the collapse of major Antarctic glaciers now "appears unstoppable" due to climate change: 2

Feet that seas would rise were these glaciers to melt entirely: about 6

Number of years that the process of melting could take: several hundred

Number of years to which the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission voted last week to limit the state's official forecast of sea-level rise: 30

Portion of the commission's membership that was replaced last year by order of the Republican-controlled state legislature following controversy over its science panel's previous sea-level rise prediction, with marine scientists and conservationists replaced with pro-development advocates: 2/3

Inches of sea-level rise the science panel previously predicted, setting off a firestorm of opposition from coastal real-estate interests including an economic development group called NC-20: 39

Number of NC-20 members who now sit on the reconstituted and shrunken Coastal Resources Commission: 1

Number of NC-20 members who have been nominated to fill one of the four current empty seats of the commission's science panel, which is charged with updating the sea-level rise forecast by next March: 1

Date on which Gov. Pat McCrory (R) appointed as the commission's chair Frank Gorham III, president of Sandstone Properties LLC, an oil and gas investment business: 10/15/2013

Year in which the North Carolina legislature passed a much-mocked bill that barred state agencies from considering the most up-to-date scientific predictions about future sea level rise: 2012

Year in which a scientific study reported that North Carolina was in a "hotspot" for rising seas: 2012

Factor by which sea level rise in the hotspot is expected to exceed rise elsewhere: 3 to 4

Number of North Carolina coastal counties that for the most part sit only a foot above sea level: 6

(Click on figure to go to source.)

A house on North Carolina's Outer Banks, which are in a hotspot for sea-level rise. (Photo from the U.S. Geological Survey.)
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Latest estimate of sea level

Latest estimate of sea level rise is 3 mm/year. Just running the math, that approaches one foot over 100 years. Considering the sea level rise is slowing down and considering the fact that we have record ice levels in the Antarctic Ocean, the NC approach to go slow is the wise approach.

Sea level rise

Several hundred years. To come up six feet. Unless the climate cools again, or warms faster, or goes into a mini ice age, or anything else in "several hundred years"! There is no way we can predict this, with accurate world climate only measurable since satellites.

Even so, would you buy

Even so, would you buy waterfront property these days, knowing what you now know?

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