Claim: Sea-level spikes can harm beaches worse than hurricane

From AGU blogs:

By Alexandra Branscombe

WASHINGTON, DC – Unforeseen, short-term increases in sea level caused by strong winds, pressure changes and fluctuating ocean currents can cause more damage to beaches on the East Coast over the course of a year than a powerful hurricane making landfall, according to a new study. The new research suggests that these sea-level anomalies could be more of a threat to coastal homes and businesses than previously thought, and could become higher and more frequent as a result of climate change.

The new study found that unexpected increases in water level of a few centimeters (inches) to a half a meter (almost two feet) above the predicted high tide correlated with the loss of more than half a meter (almost two feet) of beach height on a North Carolina barrier island during 2009 and 2010. This was similar to the amount of erosion in 2010 to 2011 when Hurricane Irene – a category one hurricane with a storm surge of two meters (almost seven feet) high – swept away about a third of a meter (just over a foot) of sediment from the same beaches, according to a new study published last week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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You can read the rest here. Basically this looks like a lame attempt to make king tides look like they are enhanced significantly by sea level, and make sea level an elevated issue so they can argue with North Carolina to re-enact the sea level laws they gutted this in 2012.

And it is a single island. It reminds me of the wailing over this sand bar that disappeared.

 

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44 thoughts on “Claim: Sea-level spikes can harm beaches worse than hurricane

  1. Their comparison is to a category one hurricane. Even if they could stop the sea from rising, what do they plan to do to stop hurricanes greater than category one from ever again hitting the East Coast?

  2. The trouble with CAGW alarmism is that you can’t sell it unless you deliberately ignore the “Context” that scientific evidence provides.

    When it comes to sea level rise the scientific context says that at the end of the last glaciation ~15,000 years ago sea levels rose at a rate of > 1 meter per century. Then about 8,000 years ago the rate of rise dropped to ~0.3 meters per century. This rate of rise is of natural origin and will not be affected significantly even if the human race becomes extinct tomorrow.

    Another example of the failure to provide “Context” is the absurd alarmism over the decline of global ice volume. According to the IPCC’s AR5 report global ice is declining at a rate of 300 Giga-tonnes a year. That sounds scary unless you are aware that the global ice inventory is 3,000,000 Giga-tonnes. Even in the unlikely event that the current rate of ice loss is maintained it will take 10,000 years to melt it all.

  3. completely off topic but i could not help myself

    JESSE JACKSON ADDRESSES THE SHOOTING IN FERGUSON, MISSOURI

    Jesse Jackson: There Is A Ferguson Near You

    ….inadequate investment being made in our infrastructure with roads crumbling, bridges falling down and an outdated public transportation system, a failure to address climate change ….

    How about just saying — don’t push a cop into his car and try to grab his gun.

    So for Jackson this sad death all comes down to is creating a bigger trough for him to shove his face into.

    Remember Jackson was once the young man who smeared something red on his shirt and went out and told the public that Martin Luther King had died in his arms when he wasn’t even in the room.

    Eugene WR Gallun

    [And, it is almost best to leave off-topics, off the topic. .mod]

  4. I recently read an article in National Geographic that claimed the outer banks in North Carolina are being destroyed by global warming. But the true reason given in the meat of the article was land use. The barrier Island is only shrinking because human land use is preventing the Island from moving westward. If humans would let nature do its thing then the east coast would get washed away and the west coast of the Island would build up. Man though has intervened and kept the west coast from building up by infilling the inlets created by storms from the east that bring the sand needed in the west. Had nothing to do with global warming but they still blamed it.

  5. Also OT but relevant: The Weather Channel is running a show that has identified CO2 as being necessary for life but they still hold by the global warming nonsense. BUT, you’ll be happy to know that a thermostat exists – it seems that volcanoes erupt to put more CO2 into the air if the planet needs to warm up while the oceans and atmospheric water absorb CO2 to cause rocks to erode when the planet needs to cool down. No joke – volcanoes happen to regulate CO2 directly and temperature indirectly. Lemarkian.

  6. All-purpose Climate Worry Science Form 10-10

    The new research suggests that these ____________ anomalies could be more of a threat to ____________ than previously thought, and could become higher and more frequent as a result of climate change.

  7. Keeping things in perspective–where I live, the daily tidal range is up to 8 feet and sea level is rising at about 7 1/2 inches per century (0.7 inches per decade), so if we have a big storm, the critical issue is where the tide is at the height of the storm. With an 8 foot tidal range, if the storm peaks at low tide, not much happens at the shoreline, but if it hits at high tide the water is 8 feet higher plus the height of the storm surge and a lot of damage can occur. Sea level rise of 0.7 inches per decade is really not a factor.

    Storm damage to coral islands is mainly caused by coastal erosion from storm surges, not from rising sea level. Sea level rise at most of the tide gauge stations around the world suggests a rate of about 7 1/2 inches a century in most places, so although the tidal range is much less than Puget Sound, 0.7 inches per decade is not an important factor. It doesn’t add enough to storm surges to make any significant difference.

  8. “Their comparison is to a category one hurricane. Even if they could stop the sea from rising, what do they plan to do to stop hurricanes greater than category one from ever again hitting the East Coast?”
    Of we act now we will have less and weaker hurricanes?

  9. “… can harm beaches worse than hurricane …”

    Wow! now beaches can be ‘harmed’? … as opposed to merely eroded or else deposited upon … nope, objective disinterest is out, now we must strive to emotivate zah wordery to maximum palpitative tawdry and unsolicited cranial gropery!

    Marine Transgressions

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_transgression

    Sequence Stratigraphy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequence_stratigraphy

    So it’s really not the end of the world, much of Eastern Australia and coastal New Zealand were constructed in the same sequence-stratigraphy of hundreds of marine transgression and regressions in almost uninterrupted succession. This is what Earth tends to do, irrespective of the presence or absence of primates and the “harm” those nasty little jerks incite in perfectly indifferent lumps of spherical rock, ruthlessly blown out the butt of some unimpressed stellar orb.

  10. Just to point out that +/- 100 meters (330 feet) of change in sea level is the noise level for Earth within that graph. The long-term sea level change signal is in the region of +/- 200 meters. So getting on to nearly 700 feet of sea level change is the natural global variability level.

    I’m not going to get too bent out of shape about a few centimeters and harm to beaches. If we want to get that silly the UN may as well go ahead and pass a resolution to ban the oceans for their heartless crimes against beachery.

  11. Barrier Islands are by their nature transient phenomena. Few are older than 8,000 years and most much newer. Three things are needed to form them.

    1. A sufficient supply of sediment.
    2. Rising sea levels
    3. Winds and waves with sufficient energy to move the sediment around.

    No sea level rise – no barrier islands. Changes to local tides and currents are as likely to destroy barrier islands as cause them to exist and humans have radically altered coastlines in the last thousand years causing just such changes. CO2 is neither necessary nor likely as a major factor.

    Keith

  12. Anthony
    In May 1974, Sydney’s beaches were hit with a 1-100 year massive coastal storm. It tore many local sandy beaches apart and even in Sydney Harbour destroyed the huge promenade at Manly Harbour Pool – a local tourist mecca – where it had enclosed a large pool since 1931.

    There has been no storm like it since.

    Please refer to the cover page of Climate Change: Truth or Propaganda (Google or WordPress) showing the utter devastation of our beautiful Bilgola Beach and homes, where (not just 1 metre of beach) a 5-metre high stretch of beachfront was washed back into the sea, together with in-ground swimming pools overlooking the beach.

    As a member of an inspection group, we pulled open the oven door on the ground level of one home and found the grilling tray full of sand: That was an indication of the extent of the storm surge.

    But here’s the rub: Page 65 shows that same beach as it is today, completely restored with bathers and sun lovers all over it.

    What are these people on about?

  13. Sand Engines, the artificial Barrier Islands made by the Dutch, and they do work quite well actually.

    Having said that, strong winds, pressure changes and fluctuating ocean currents and add spring-tide to that and we usually call that a storm. Like the one that flooded a part of the Netherlands in february 1953 wich was a unfortunate collection of events, spring-tide, a once in a 10.000 year north-western storm at the northsea moving south-east, inadequate sea defences, all circumstances that on their own could not have caused this catastrophy.

    Normal storms do cause damages to our coast, we as Dutch need to maintain our coast, if you suggest that anything else like going green by reducing your CO2-emissions is solving that coastal erosion problem (wich is of all times) than your are criminally misleading the public.

  14. Could, might maybe… my dog could learn to ttalk too, probably won’t but “could”. When these papers say WILL then I’ll bother reading them

  15. Another “blah-blah-blah is worse by climate change report”. They are little more than fill in the blank pro-forma bits of rent seeking by grant writers who have learned how to get funding. Sort of like that phonied up counter-factual lobster study from a few months ago.

  16. What is more damaging to beaches is the planting of dune stabilization shrubs/plants. They prevent the natural rolling of the dunes and the ocean eats all the way up to the vegetation resulting in significant beach loss over time.

  17. I knew they’d have to come up with something else considering the declining incedence of hurricanes in recent years.
    Your slipping Mr. Watt.
    Your usually all over these fraudsters before their press release.
    Our cyclone season in Australia was such a dud, the were claiming cyclones as “ours” even though they were in Indonesia.

  18. “…and could become higher and more frequent as a result of climate change.

    Do they copy and paste this into every study, or do they have a standard form for their abstracts where this line populates automatically? Sheesh!!!

  19. The actual revelation in the paper is the undetected anomalies, not the effects. The effects are QED. The anomalies are the explanation. Now they have to figure out how to predict them so they can plan for them.

  20. ” Unforeseen, short-term increases in sea level caused by strong winds, pressure changes and fluctuating ocean currents can cause more damage to beaches on the East Coast over the course of a year than a powerful hurricane making landfall, according to a new study. “

    Perhaps that is true. However, can they show that these “unforeseen, short-term increases in sea level” have been anything unusual over the period of the study or that this phenomenon is anything unusual?

    Wonder if anyone has old National Geographics and can find the article back in the 1970’s (if I recall correctly) that warned that the NC barrier islands would mostly be gone in 30 years?

    They mention Onslow Beach, NC:

    Check out the Wikipedia article on Onslow Beach:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onslow_Beach

    Wonder if all those Marine Corps vehicles have any effect?

  21. Steve Oregon says:
    August 12, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    All-purpose Climate Worry Science Form 10-10

    The new research suggests that these ____________ anomalies could be more of a threat to ____________ than previously thought, and could become higher and more frequent as a result of climate change.

    Sorry Steve. I saw you post after I added my snark.

  22. I did see a small beach in Dominican Rep. that got scoured out by Hurricane Thomas a few years back, but the nearby beaches seemed fine. Indeed, it this was a problem, there would be a lot of buzz about it in the Caribbean. The only buzz I’ve heard is straws reaching the bottom of pina colada’s on the beaches

  23. “can cause more damage to beaches on the East Coast over the course of a year than a powerful hurricane making landfall”

    These people need some marketing training. They should say “more damage than 4 Hiroshima bombs.”

  24. These would not happen to be the same beaches that are manicured and reshaped by heavy equipment, and augmented with many tons of new sand, each season and during the beach season as well, would they?

  25. I watched tens of yards of beach disappear from Fire Island in five years. Back in the 1970s before the recent warming. Hideous land management caused entire sections of the beach to be destroyed. It used to take 10 seconds running at full tilt to reach the water. Takes about three now.

  26. RE: “Larry Geiger says:
    August 13, 2014 at 3:57 am
    Sand moves.”

    You said it all with two words.

    The ocean has risen nearly 400 feet since the ice age. A lot of land on the Grand Banks was dry. Fishermen dredge up all sorts of interesting stuff, including the skulls of land-dwelling creatures.

    What would be interesting is to live a midst is a time when the sea level was falling 400 feet. Likely you would notice little year to year, but old men would tell you, “I can remember…”

    The changes in beaches and barrier islands after big hurricanes and nor’easters is amazing, and equally amazing is how swiftly people rebuild. I drove south of Myrtle Beach after Hurricane Hugo, and the damage was worse every mile you went further south. I recall one lone house standing midst pilings where all the other houses were smashed inland through other houses a block or two back from the sea. The reason that lone house survived was because the fellow paid extra to put it on pilings 14 feet tall rather than the normal 12. Now I think the entire area has been re-developed, with all the pilings 14 feet tall. (Murrill’s Inlet)

    Even in the course of an ordinary year the beaches retreat in the winter and advance during the summer. One thing I highly recommend for people in the northeast USA is to go to their favorite beach around the first of March, and see how much sand is gone. (Dress warmly.) (A lot of sand shifts out to build a seasonal winter-sandbar that protects the beach from further erosion, and then washes back towards shore in the spring.) Because so much sand is gone, you may find the keel of a beached ship exposed, among other things.

    When I was young, boys in Boston used to skip school after the first nor’easter of the fall, because a summer’s worth of loose change would be exposed on the beaches. (That was before metal detectors, when the dimes and quarters were made of real silver, buffed by the swirling sand, polished free of all tarnish and shining in the sun.)

    On one beach I was walking during a very low tide, and came across a sort of shelf of peat extending along the shoreline. That peat had formed when there was a salt march where the beach was, and the beach’s dunes was some distance further east. Like Gary says, “Sand moves”.

    • @Caleb – When you were a young boy in Boston, Change was real money. As in you could use it to buy things without having to use a pocketful!

      We use to collect pop bottles to redeem for the 3 cent deposit. Then buy ice cream with the 20-30 cents we earned.

  27. King tides vs Atlantis?
    Far greater than king tides or global warming is the impact of natural super volcanoes. e.g., the “Atlantis” eruption 3600 years ago at Santorini

    “Atlantis” Eruption Twice as Big as Previously Believed, Study Suggests

    the volcano released 14 cubic miles (60 cubic kilometers) of magma—six times more than the infamous 1883 eruption of Krakatau (Krakatoa). . . .
    found a ring of volcanic deposits extending all the way around the Santorini archipelago.
    The deposits averaged 100 feet (30 meters) thick and extended about 19 miles (30 kilometers) in all directions, . . .
    “In a very similar setting, [the milder] Krakatau produced 100-foot [30-meter] tsunami waves,” Sigurdsson said.

  28. Thatk you, David, for adding tsunamis to the mix. They are foreseeable, but unpredictable, and far more devastating than any of the other listed causes. For the enlightenment of the self-centered Metro-ineffectuals who consider NYC (and the US East Coast) the most important part of the world, there is an island in the Atlantic (La Palma) with a volcano (Cumbre Vieja) standing poised to erupt, possibly unleashing a tsunami that estimates have as up to 49 m high by the time it reaches the American east coast – from Portland ME to Venezuela.

  29. Check out these maps From – A New Mapp of Carolina ’1698′ – http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/ncmaps&CISOPTR=115&CISOBOX=1&REC=5

    And – An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina With Their Indian Frontiers, Shewing in a distinct manner all the Mountains, Rivers, Swamps, Marshes, Bays, Creeks, Harbours, Sandbanks and Soundings on the Coasts, ’1775′ – http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/ncmaps&CISOPTR=125&CISOBOX=1&REC=15

    Both from NC Map

    Compare with google maps – with Abermarle Sound, NC
    With 300 years you can still see the same features.

  30. How about conflating sea level, heat, PDO and ENSO all in a few paragraphs of gloriously polished spin? Trenberth at his best:

    http://norwegian.wunderground.com/news/no-hiatus-pause-global-warming-climate-change-heres-why-20140109

    Every individual statement is true but is implicitly loading the next statement with spurious significance. It’s all about sequencing your statements so that, by implication, they are linked when in fact they are not. When called out, you can always jump behind that fig leaf and say you didn’t explicitly make those links- only the reader did. Impressive stuff.

  31. “Rhoda R says:

    August 12, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Also OT but relevant: The Weather Channel is running a show that has identified CO2 as being necessary for life but they still hold by the global warming nonsense. BUT, you’ll be happy to know that a thermostat exists – it seems that volcanoes erupt to put more CO2 into the air if the planet needs to warm up while the oceans and atmospheric water absorb CO2 to cause rocks to erode when the planet needs to cool down. No joke – volcanoes happen to regulate CO2 directly and temperature indirectly. Lemarkian.”

    The Weather Channel gave a rather confused explanation of the “Goldilocks and the Three Planets” phenomenon.
    This is the complete carbon cycle: rainwater removes CO2 from the atmosphere and puts it in the crust, and volcanic action releases CO2 from the crust and puts it back in the atmosphere. When the earth warms up, there is presumably more rain, washing CO2 out of the atmosphere. When the earth cools down, there is presumably less rain, and CO2 from volcanoes and other plate tectonic acton continues to build up- warming the earth . This effect doesn’t work on Venus because the oceans there have disappeard, so rainfall cannot wash CO2 out of the atmosphere and cool it off. On Mars, plate tectonics have stopped, so no CO2 is released into the atmosphere to warm it up again.

    I suppose there is also the factor that more rain implies more clouds, reflecting away more sunlight, less rain leads to less clouds, and more sunlight absorbed by the surface.
    I suspect that the H20 effect vastly outweighs the CO2 effect in the “Goldilocks” phenomenon.

  32. This posting is accurate in that the storm Sandy caused so much damage because the NJ coast was already under an extreme, lingering NE Atlantic storm for several days before Sandy arrived and much of the coast was already in flooding conditions. Although Sandy was not at hurricane force, the confluence of Sandy and the NE storm resulted in abnormal flooding along the coast. The media ignores this fact. NE storms themselves can cause extreme flooding.

  33. Interesting.
    Indeed – ‘Sand moves’ – Thank you to
    Larry Geiger (who) says:
    August 13, 2014 at 3:57 am
    Sand moves.

    Absolutely.
    Well, having spend some of a lengthy maritime career much in and around the North Sea (Mer du Nord; Nordzee), NW Europe, I can affirm that that is true of sand on beaches, on barrier islands – and also in the undersea dunes that we poor bum-boaties call sand waves.
    They march up and down the southern North Sea [perhaps further North, too, but I traded mostly in the south, and the great Storegga Slide [See - e.g. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storegga_Slide ] may give some of the variation, I gather].
    Storms and tides and currents, and weather generally are surely amongst their influences.
    In the south, this can mean depths varying by several metres over a year at a particular position. And this has been a feature of the area since the early Seventies (at least, that was when I first made my living on the ‘foaming billow’).
    I would be much more than mildly astonished [flipping flyingly flabbergasted fails to feel faintly funicularly feasible] if the sea floor had, after aeons of stasis, started this necessarily (truly) unprecedented behaviour just a few months before I went to sea!
    [Litotes, good folk; not /Sarc]

    Auto

  34. Building high rises along the beaches do more damage than anything natural. These high rises change onshore wind patterns causing side drifting waters that scour the sand away from the beaches. Beaches in areas without these high rise buildings, such as Manasota Key Beach, constantly lose sand which is in turn replaced by wave action. I have lived near by for 12 years and frequent this beach often. I have seen lots of erosion after a bad storm only to have it come back to normal within a couple of weeks. Being Shark Week I can also say I have never seen a shark there either.

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