Tag Archives: rising sea

Does Hurricane Sandy Have a Silver Lining?

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy split Fire Island into two islands, creating a new inlet to the bay behind it. Contrary to the fears of many, there is no evidence suggesting that the opening of the new inlet has increased the risk of of flooding to the mainland (see the following USGS study, Hurricane Sandy Impacts Did Not Contribute to Subsequent Storm Flooding). In fact, scientists say that the breach actually helps clean the bay waters, and fishermen are seeing positive changes.

The following video is courtesy of National Geographic.

Why Sand Is Disappearing

Below excerpts are from a November 4th editorial in The New York Times, here.

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“Today, 75 to 90 percent of the world’s natural sand beaches are disappearing, due partly to rising sea levels and increased storm action, but also to massive erosion caused by the human development of shores. Many low-lying barrier islands are already submerged…

“Yet the extent of this global crisis is obscured because so-called beach nourishment projects attempt to hold sand in place and repair the damage by the time summer people return, creating the illusion of an eternal shore…

“Before next summer, endless lines of dump trucks will have filled in bare spots and restored dunes. Virginia Beach alone has been restored more than 50 times. In recent decades, East Coast barrier islands have used 23 million loads of sand, much of it mined inland and the rest dredged from coastal waters—a practice that disturbs the sea bottom, creating turbidity that kills coral beds and damages spawning grounds, which hurts inshore fisheries…

Click here to read the entire article. Watch a TEDx video presentation on the topic, below.

Save the Structures, But Lose the Beach

In a recent article (click here to read), the East Hampton Star lambasted a highly contentious project planned by the Army Corps of Engineers to save ten beachfront properties in Montauk.

According to the article, the Corps is getting ready to install a 3,100-foot-long barrier of sand bags, which “would function as short-lived seawalls, resulting in the near-certain total loss of a passable beach.”

The $9 million project is a perfect example of the negative consequences we face when using engineering “solutions” to protect structures.

“The notion that someday money would be forthcoming to pump sand in from offshore is little more than fanciful thinking; it cannot be the cornerstone of real-world policy.”

Click here to read the entire article.