Nature vs. Nature or Engineering? The Case of Coastal Resilience

Coastal flooding has been a problem for as long as civilization has settled along the coast. During that same time civilization has been impacting natural features that would otherwise help mitigate this problem. There are two schools of thought in combating coastal flooding today: installing conventional engineering solutions and bringing back natural barriers. There are pros and cons to both strategies, but it really boils down to cost, space, and unintended consequences. In our opinion, nature should be used to fight nature. Read the article and decide for yourself!

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Sea-Level Rise won’t affect every place in the same way

Do you, like 40% of the global population, live within 100 km of the coast? If so, you have probably wondered about the impacts sea level rise will have on your home, your community, and daily activities. Interestingly, sea level is not expected increase the same amount in all places around the globe. Read on to learn about how the reconstruction of historical environments can help us define how different areas around the globe will be impacted by sea level rise.

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Predicting the future by looking to the past: Determining Rates and Magnitudes of Sea-Level Change from Sediment Cores

With sea levels rising at an alarming rate, coastal communities have one thing on their mind: how much will sea levels rise, and how soon? The rate at which sea level rises is unique to each coastline and reliant on many factors. However, many scientists believe projecting future sea-level rise rates is dependent on understanding a coastline’s past. This summary explores past research on the secrets of sea-level rise in marine sediments.

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Following a Coastal Geologic Hazards course in Rhode Island

Coastal communities are impacted by hazards such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and beach erosion. Geologists reconstruct past events to understand future events. Follow along as a University of Rhode Island geology class explores coastal geologic hazards.

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Building Barriers to Stop Sea Level Rise, What’s at Stake?

Anticipated growth of coastal communities is expected in the ensuing future. As these communities expand so will the issue of coastal protection. Currently 14% of the continental US has armored shorelines to protect infrastructure and people from storm surges and consequent flooding. However, the biological impact of these barriers is under scrutiny. Research conducted by Gehman and colleagues at the University of Georgia investigated how armored coastlines impact both biotic and abiotic features of coastal-upland boundaries along coastal Georgia compared unarmored and forested locations.

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Why coastal flood maps are wrong: the tale of compound hazards

Coastal flooding is expected to increase in frequency due to future sea level rise and more extreme weather, but most coastal flood hazards maps do not portray the increase risk. We dive deeper into how these maps are made and uncover why the current flood hazard maps may be misleading.

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“Pollen-ology”: what microfossils can tell us about sea level rise

Ever wonder how scientists reconstruct environments from the earth’s history? For those studying mangroves in South Florida, the answer is a little smaller than you would think. Palynology, or the study of fossilized pollen, can tell researchers about what plants were present in an area in the past, aiding in understanding how things have changed in the last few thousand years. With the help of this reconstruction, pollen fossils can also help us predict how mangrove systems will change in the future.

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Feeling Salty About Climate Change? So Are Coastal Wetlands.

Coastal wetlands are disappearing fast – at a rate of >80,000 acres/year and rising. There are many threats to these ecosystems, one of which is “saltwater intrusion” – when saltwater is introduced into fresh bodies of water. A recent study looked at the effects of saltwater intrusion by mimicking the increased salinity experienced on a short-term basis (a hurricane) versus a long-term basis (sea level rise). The authors found that chronic saltwater intrusion had many impacts on water quality, microbial activity, greenhouse gas production, and vegetation in a tidal freshwater marsh in Georgia.

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