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New book brings upper US Gulf Coast climate change and sea-level rise into focus
Date:9/10/2008

Boulder, CO, USA - Climate change and sea-level rise in the upper U.S. Gulf Coast and across the globe are two of the greatest concerns of our time. This new Special Paper from The Geological Society of America addresses the response of upper U.S. Gulf Coast estuaries to Holocene climate change and sea-level rise in an effort to understand the current impact of global warming. Study results show that further rapid and dramatic reorganization of estuarine environments is likely.

According to volume editors John B. Anderson of Rice University and Antonio B. Rodriguez of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the U.S. Gulf Coast is characterized by a strong climatic gradient, making the area particularly vulnerable to climate change, as seen in both coastal erosion and wetland loss. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions suggest that the rate of sea-level rise associated with climate change could reach as high as 5-10 mm/yr by the end of this century. Even with this understanding and the general recognition that accelerated sea-level rise will severely impact low-gradient coastlines, scientists are still ill prepared to predict coastal response.

This study of seven Gulf Coast estuaries (Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound, Weeks Bay, Calcasieu Lake, Sabine Lake, Galveston Bay, Matagorda Bay, and Corpus Christi Bay) examines past environmental response to changes in the rate of sea-level rise and climate change of similar magnitude as those predicted for this century. The results show abrupt landward retreat and major reorganization of estuarine environments at decadal time scales. This volume will help ready scientists, policy makers, and others concerned about the current and future impacts of global warming to better react to its effects on some of Earth's most vulnerable environments.


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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert  

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