January 15, 2010

How high can the N.C. sea coast rise?

The sea level on the N.C. coast is likely to rise by 1.2 feet to as much as 4.6 feet this century, a panel of scientists told a state forum today. The broad range reflects the uncertainty in how much the seas will rise, the panel reported. Globally, the rise has accelerated since the 1990s and that trend is expected to continue. The estimates will be used by coastal managers for planning purposes, but they could widely affect residents too. By including sea level rise in land-management plans on the coast, for instance, areas that are likely to flood in future decades could be declared unsuited for high-density development. The N.C. Department of Transportation is already considering the likely rise of the sea in coming decades as it designs coastal bridges and highways, officials said.

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