In 1998, Whitley Strieber had never heard of climate change, but the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all about it (The new, UNCENSORED edition of The Key, with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW). According to a new study, ocean wind speeds and wave heights have increased significantly over the last quarter of a century.
PhysOrg.com quotes researcher Ian Young as saying, "Careful analysis of satellite data shows that extreme oceanic wind speeds and ocean wave heights have increased dramatically over the last 23 years." This may be good news for surfers but it's NOT good news for coastal cities. Young says, "The results have potential impact on the design of coastal buildings and other structures as well as shipping. They could also have a profound effect on the transfer of energy (heat) between the sea and the atmosphere--one of the great unknowns of climate change."
But identifying the human impact of rising sea levels is far more complex than just looking at coastal cities on a map. Estimates that are based on current, static population data can greatly misrepresent the true extent of the human toll of climate change. Researcher Katherine Curtis says, "Not all places and not all people in those places will be impacted equally. We're linking economic and social vulnerability with environmental vulnerability to better understand which areas and their populations are most vulnerable." By 2030, more than 19 million people will be affected by rising sea levels, and many of those people may be in unexpected places. For example, if Florida floods, New York and Los Angeles will feel the effects: In 2000, 14,000 people from three New York counties and another 5,500 from Los Angeles moved to Miami-Dade County, Florida, where they became even more vulnerable to sea level rise.