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The study examined the 8,500-year rate of sea-level rise that has already induced the drowning of wetland on Louisiana’s coast. Based on these records, it found that “at rates of relative sea-level rise– meaning the combination of rising water and ground subsidence– of 6 to 9 millimeters a year, the Gulf’s marshes would disappear underwater within a half-century,” Yale E360 noted. While recent rates of sea-level rise have been measured at about 3.58 millimeters per year, subsidence is not included in that measure, and this rising will only accelerate due to human-induced climate change.
Saying No to Inaction
While the study concluded we are past the tipping point, the lead author Torbjörn Törnqvist told Nola.com that this cannot paralyze us into inaction. One important step towards that would be to build on and execute Louisiana’s 2023 Coastal Master Plan, which builds on a previous plan of the same name. This plan involves the “collective efforts of project investments [to] reduce storm surge-based flood risk to communities, provide habitats to support an array of commercial and recreational activities, and support infrastructure critical to the working coast.” Coupled with the reduction of greenhouse gases globally, this could help lengthen the life of the marshlands there. However, many have argued that “the master plan does not go far enough in addressing existential issues like the future of New Orleans,” suggesting more radical measures must be taken.
But the study doesn’t only implicate the Mississippi River Delta. What is suggests is much more ominous. The findings, as the authors note, “raise the question whether coastal marshes elsewhere may be more vulnerable than commonly recognized.” This is yet another demonstration of the need to take concerted, unified action on climate change lest these important ecosystems be destroyed. And the health of the Delta is ultimately dependent upon changing farming practices all along the Mississippi River.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer Tucson is one of the fastest-warming cities in the country. Right now, it’s coming off of a record-breaking September for heat and drought. The city declared a climate emergency earlier this year and set a goal of becoming carbon neutral in the next 10 years. As part of hitting […]
As National Geographic recently reported, on Friday new findings from the most comprehensive scientific expedition to Mt. Everest (known locally as Sagarmatha and Chomolangma) in history were released in the journal One Earth. This new research, part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, sheds crucial information about how climate change […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer Collectively, the Great Lakes are the world’s largest freshwater system. They provide drinking water, food, even the fresh air we breathe. The five lakes are “arguably the continent’s most precious resource,” National Geographic writes in the magazine’s December cover story. And they’re in trouble. Toxic chemicals from agriculture, invasive […]
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