Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Another Day, Another Chesapeake Bay Sea Level Rise Alarm Story

Da Sun: Maryland’s Dorchester County is washing away, leaving its residents with hard choices
High tides surging from a narrow creek destroyed the car Kathy Blake once parked in her gravel driveway here. Over the past two decades, the water has ruined half a dozen of them.

Since October, when one of those floods filled the first floor of Blake’s home with 6 inches of water, she’s been living in a camper with her husband and granddaughter, in that same driveway.

Not far away in this tiny community on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay waves have eaten away at the land Gary McQuitty uses to offer hunting trips. Last year, he had to move a duck blind inland. McQuitty expects to have to move it again soon, as the waves creep toward his hunting lodge.

The evidence of rising seas stretches to Dorchester County’s mainland, too, up the winding road toward the county seat of Cambridge. Across the rural southern half of the county, everything is projected to be inundated — frequently if not constantly — by the end of the century.

The signs of change are so glaring around Dorchester, they are forcing difficult decisions. In this county of 32,000 people, experts say the confrontation with rising water caused by climate change is coming more quickly than just about anywhere else on the East Coast.
So, let's see what's really been happening in Cambridge, which has a fairly long term tide gauge:

Woohoo! 3.8 mm per year, and on the same track since the station was established in the early 1940s, long before concentrations of CO2 rose enough to have significant effect on temperatures. And consistent with other sea level graphs in the area, notably the longest term station at Baltimore:

A little slower in Baltimore, only 3.2 mm per year, probably reflecting 1) less settling and water withdrawal and 2) further north, away from the impact crater at the mouth of the Bay, which is still settling after 35 million years or so. And no hint of acceleration due to the purported recent warming and melting of Greenland and Antarctica.

Yes, sea level is rising in Cambridge (and places around the globe)  as a result of climate change, it's just the long term climate change caused by the end of the last glaciation and tail end of the return of sea level to the non-glacial state. If sea level ever starts dropping, buy land in Florida or other southern states.

So yes, if you're going to live close to the water on a coastline where the land is sinking, and the water is rising, you're going to have to adapt. Move the damn duck blind!

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