Panic: Possible sea level rise to bury old places

From Smithsonian, another worrisome maybe, could be, sea level rise story. At least they said “Should global warming cause sea levels to rise”.

Scientists issue call to action for archaeological sites threatened by rising seas

Should global warming cause sea levels to rise as predicted in coming decades, thousands of archaeological sites in coastal areas around the world will be lost to erosion. With no hope of saving all of these sites, archaeologists Torben Rick from the Smithsonian Institution, Leslie Reeder of Southern Methodist University, and Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon have issued a call to action for scientists to assess the sites most at risk.

Santa Barbara Channel

Caption: This is a map of the Santa Barbara Channel Study area.

Credit: Leslie Reeder

Writing in the Journal of Coastal Conservation and using California’s Santa Barbara Channel as a case study, the researchers illustrate how quantifiable factors such as historical rates of shoreline change, wave action, coastal slope and shoreline geomorphology can be used to develop a scientifically sound way of measuring the vulnerability of individual archaeological sites. They then propose developing an index of the sites most at risk so informed decisions can be made about how to preserve or salvage them.

Urban development, the researchers point out, also is a significant threat to the loss of archaeological data. Coastlines have long been magnets of human settlement and contain a rich array of ancient archaeological sites, many of which have never been excavated. Urban development is projected to remain high in coastal areas, representing a significant danger to undisturbed sites.

Thousands of archaeological sites—from large villages and workshops to fragmented shell middens and lithic scatters—are perched on the shorelines and sea cliffs of the Santa Barbara Channel, the researchers point out. The archaeological record is never static, and the materials left behind by one generation are altered by the people and environment of the next. However, increasing threats from modern urban development, sea level rise and global warming are poised to increase this steady pattern of alteration and destruction.

Santa Barbara Archaeological Sites

Caption: These are archaeological sites coded according to a Cultural Resource Vulnerability Index.

Credit: Leslie Reeder

The vulnerability of sites in the Santa Barbara Channel is generally lower than sites located along more open, more gently sloped or unstable coastlines, such as the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America.

Measuring threats and identifying vulnerable sites is not an end in itself, the researchers say. “We must find ways to act…by quantifying those sites most vulnerable to destruction, we take a first step toward mitigating the loss of archaeological data and the shared cultural patrimony they contain.”

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Ray

In view of the sea level rate decrease and that the Russian are saying we are going head first in a new ice age… I would not worry.

rbateman

What is with these people? Always they see the world through fire-roasted sunglasses.
What about the opposite effect, that of falling sea levels?
Someone needs to remind them to change the channel, the reruns are sucking the air out of their brains.

Norm in Calgary

Great, now Archaeologists want a cut of the Global Warming pie.

Richard Wright

The tide station data from Santa Barbara exhibits no sign of dangerous man-made global warming. The long term trend has been a very modest uptrend. In the last decade, the trend is actually slightly down. The local sea level was higher during the late 1990s than in 2009-2010. A four or five inch increase or decrease per century will not threaten anything except the ego of our Governor. It is just as likely that sites will be uncovered by declining sea level, as will be flooded by a rising sea level.
http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=9411340

ZZZ

They’ve got the problem backwards. Techniques should be developed to find and analyze archaeological sites that are already under water. Not only could we then handle any soon-to-be submerged sites if and when they go beneath the waves, but we could also go after all those as-yet-unknown sites that were on dry land during the last ice age (when the sea level was hundreds of feet lower and the Bering strait was a land bridge between Asia and the Americas).

Good thing all polar ice remained frozen during MWP, of we wouldn’t know about some of these sites!

rbateman

Let me put it in a different perspective:
Those that see catastrophic sea level rise as the only thing possible remind me of a scene.
A child is running through a lobby, with a big carefree grin looking backwards for anyone paying attention to them, and you know that, sooner or later, the inevitable chair or table will meet them. Down they go, in a bruised heap.
Yes, both cases run in one direction, look backwards for attention, and both will end up crumpled on the floor when they crash & burn.

JPeden

“We must find ways to fund our jobs act…by quantifying those sites most vulnerable to destruction, we take a first step toward mitigating the loss of archaeological data and the shared cultural patrimony they contain.”
“Ecological overshoot” strikes again!

Andrew30

“We must find ways to act…by quantifying those sites most vulnerable to destruction, we take a first step toward mitigating the loss of archaeological data and the shared cultural patrimony they contain.”
So act. Stop writing reports, turn off the computer, get off your backside, go there, and start digging. Get students to help during the summer, if it is so important then pull everyone off of the not ‘threatened’ digs world wide and have them all work on only these site until they are cataloged, then just move the ones of special significance, as was done for the St. Laurence Seaway and the Aswan High Dam.
If your peers in archeology do not feel that the situation is important enough to drop what they are doing and come to your aid with their manpower and budgets, they why should anyone else be concerned with the continuation of a natural process.
PS. I would be more concerned with the acidic ocean completely dissolving and undermining the windward side of those islands; once that happens they will likely tip over.

What? Do mine eyes deceive me? The call of the scientist for the urgent need to… mitigate? An admission that it may be possible to just mitigate? That the effects og global warming won’t be so disastrous that there will be time and money after providing the huddling masses with food and shelter to mitigate the loss of archaelogical sites?
I must confirm this strange and bewildering turn of events. Quickly I rush to the phone…I mean email… I mean text message (I’m too old to keep up, what ever is in vogue this week) and contact in rapid succession the CD’s (Climate Demigods) Jones, Briffa and Mann. The CD’s have heard the news, but advise that ranking the sites by vulnerability is improper given the urgent, high stakes of the matter. They propose instead:
C; Contains evidence of global warming, Conserve priority 1.
M; Contains evidence of MWP, bulldoze immediately.
L; Contains evidence of LIA, bulldoze immediately
E; Dangerous. Contains evidence of MWP, LIA and unadjusted temperature records. Bulldoze immediately, cover with tar and burn, then sew the ashen remains with salt, delete all references from Wikipedia and begin a rumour that the site was not authenticated by a peer review process in any event.

Here, allow me to translate from Acadamese –
OMFG!!!!Eleventy!!! Give us more funding NOW!!!!
It actually condenses and compacts rather elegantly, don’t you think?

Patrick Crowley

I wonder how many Neolithic sites were lost when the last continental glacier melted? Let me see. I will start counting at the land bridge on the Bering Straight. Might take me a while. Back later, once the sea level falls.

I’m panicking. Really.

Allencic

Have these “scientists” ever taken an undergraduate geomorphology course. Compare the Atlantic coast with its broad beaches, drowned estuaries, and low topographic relief with the Pacific coastline from Mexico to Canada. The steep cliffs, sea stacks, broad elevated beach lines (such as Palo Verdes, Malibu, and relative lack of bays and harbors are characteristic of a tectonically rising coastline. The same tectonic processes that make the west coast earthquake prone and formed the dramatic coast ranges are lifting up the western coast. Over relatively short geologic time spans its clear that the coast is rising and sea level is (relative to the coast) falling not rising and drowning. Anything for a profitable grant though.

David Thomas Bronzich

http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2010CD/finalprogram/abstract_172568.htm
http://www.ajsonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/303/4/300
http://www.bssaonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/1607
Do Archaeologists ever look at geology reports??? The channel Islands are subsiding, have been subsiding, and will continue to do so.

a jones

Just down the road from me is a natural harbour which has certainly been in use for a few thousand years.
In the middle of it is a medieval quay of stone: and as best we can tell it was built some time around 1000 AD.
Now the tidal range here is very great, in excess of forty feet, so the quay has several levels presumably to enable mooring and loading and unloading.
If you were allowed, which you are not, it is an ancient monument, you might well find it as serviceable today as the day it was built.
The Romans never got here of course but the Vikings did and built some fine stone fortifications too, usually dated from about 1200 on. So well did they choose the best defensible positions that you will also find that the engineers of the Napoleonic wars built their versions around the Viking structures. And both survive to this day.
Fascinating to find a Viking lookout and guard tower surrounded by the batteries and magazines of the early 1800’s: and then by the air defences of the second world war. All ruinous but within a minutes walk of each other.
So I am not too bothered about the supposed loss of relics, there is more of them around than we can bother counting.
Kindest Regards

P.G. Sharrow

Seems to me to be a great to do about nothing at all.
Right now they know nothing about the ?sites and at some later date they may still know nothing about the sites. They think the unknown information is “priceless” as long as it is unknown. After it is known it may be worth less. 😉 pg

Harry Bergeron

Some Warmies in Santa Barbara wanted to paint a blue line through the city to indicate where the water would be after the Warmenating.
The city mothers thought it was a great idea until someone pointed out that it might hurt real estate values and therefore property tax revenues. Warmenating was quickly forgotten.

Don E

There are entire ancient cities under several feet of water. It makes sense to plan now to gather information that will, in a few thousand years, be lost forever.

ROM

This comment is in not mean’t in any way to reflect on the comments of those posters above as I basically agree with them.
But I still find it sad that in these times that any proposition put up by scientists of all persuasions and disciplines is increasingly been looked at from a very, very cynical angle.
The immediate reaction of a lot of commenters when a plea or more likely from the science fraternity these days, a strident demand is made for some action to be taken on some project and that further large amounts of public resources be granted to research that same supposedly science based project, is that the scientists involved are fishing for an ever bigger slice of the tax payer’s hard earned and doing so without guaranteeing that they will be ever be held fully accountable for the money spent and for the results obtained if any.
Since WW2, our society has put science and scientists on a high public pedestal.
Scientists have been given enormous authority and granted great influence by our society but these gifts of power and influence have not included the morally and legally based checks , balances and controls and the all important required responsibility and accountability that should have kept science and it’s practitioners fully and personally responsible for the outcomes of their actions and proclamations and for the tax payer funded largesse that has been heaped on science since the end of WW2.
Now our society is paying for this big time as a self selected group of scientists from many disciplines, Climate Science being the outstanding example here, have arrogantly come to believe it is their right to have access to the public wealth as a matter of course and deem it their right to use their authority when they wish without accepting any responsibility, any challenge or any consequences.
As long as our society allows that same group of arrogant and self serving, unaccountable, generously and publicly funded scientists from many disciplines to sit comfortably and arrogantly upon their high pedestal we will have endless science created conflicts within our society and endless demands for ever more money and resources.
Either science disciplines itself in both it’s attitudes and it’s constant demands for ever more public funds and develops a moral and legal accountability and responsibility to the public that has granted them their status and authority, or our society will eventually do it for them.
And it won’t be pleasant for either science or our society and civilisation.
The choice now lays in the hands of the scientists themselves.

I think the most telling point being made is not so much about rising sea levels but the other human caused problems that need mitigation. The developing of an index like this is useful and potentially valuable. The major problem they face is a one of setting a value of these places. Just because it is important to some archeologist does not mean it have any value to anyone else. This like much else in society and almost everything having to do with a changing climate or changing society, has different values to different people for almost always different reasons.

BigWaveDave

Just another example of the mounting evidence of how big the problem of AGW really is. Studies like this help to keep the focus off the absence of evidence that AGW exists.
BWD

jorgekafkazar

Allencic says: “…Over relatively short geologic time spans its clear that the coast is rising and sea level is (relative to the coast) falling not rising and drowning. Anything for a profitable grant though.”
Spoilsport.

pat

So one of the most turbulent sites on Earth, California, has a problem with sea level? Hmmmm. Maybe if it sent the 5 million illegal immigrants that live there back home the carbon foot print of the State would decrease and we could save the world/

DJ Meredith

We need to preserve modern archaeological sites too for our children. We must not let Global Warming’s disastrous sea level inundation steal our legacy of our own precious history.
I can’t imagine my children’s children not being able to uncover the secrets of the Rockford File’s trailer at Malibu Pier, or the pieces of green foil still found in the cove at Point Dume where they filmed Planet of the Apes….But the most priceless of all….
Imagine losing for all posterity the archaeological treasures of the home of “The Real Housewives of Long Beach” (not yet in production)…….
But seriously…what would be the wild claims of doom if the sea level was lowering? I’m sure the alarmists would amuse us with equally dire predictions.

Jimmy Haigh

Norm in Calgary says:
October 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm
“Great, now Archaeologists want a cut of the Global Warming pie.”
Yup. They’re late to the party, there’s not much pie left, and everyone else will be trying to get at the crumbs.

Dave Wendt

OT, but, as if the prospects for the coming winter weren’t bad enough already,now comes news that two volcanoes on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula are spewing big ash clouds
http://ap.stripes.com/dynamic/stories/E/EU_RUSSIA_VOLCANOES?SITE=DCSAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-10-28-18-42-49

Dave Wendt

mods;
The link in my previous post is an AP story. There may be copyright issues with posting it here. Not up on their rules myself, but if you think it could be an issue, it may be best to delete it.

Vorlath

There are hundreds of archaeological sites all over the world that are already under water. We need action NOW!
[REPLY – I warned the Helicaeans not to sign that mortgage! ~ Evan

The rate of sea level rise is really going down for the moment, and has been for the last years:
http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2010/10/going-down.html
Don’t be confused though: the sea level is still going up, but instead of accelerating, like the fearmongers of Global Warming tend to tell, it is rising at a much smaller pace, not much bigger than all of the 20th century .
Ecotretas

Dave N

So they know there needs to be “action”, but haven’t worked out yet what that might be. Someone wake me up when they’ve worked it out, because that alone could be worth hearing, at least for a laugh..

crosspatch

There are probably a lot of archaeological sites that have already been covered with some couple of hundred feet of water. Bet there’s a bunch of the under water between the US and Russia … and between Italy and Greece.
I’ll bet that during the last ice age, the Adriatic sea was a rather fertile valley with the Po river running through it. An entire culture probably lost their tribal lands when the ice age ended and flooded it.
Happens all the time.

UK Sceptic

Speaking as an archaeologist I’m going to say just this. Coastlines change all the time. It’s down to processes like isostacy, erosion and, depending on where you live, plate tectonics. Post glacial inundation ended thousands of years ago and took a lot of our archaeology with it. Occasionally we get to reclaim some of it (Doggerland Project). I have seen sites in danger of, or being lost to the sea through natural processes. However, I have yet to view a site threatened by the storm surge of man made global freaking warming. Urbanistation is a far greater threat to our buried heritage. I think those Californiologists need to remove themselves from the alarmist payroll.

Technical Righter

P G Sharrow is right on target. As a resident of the Santa Barbara Channel shore and a former participant in several archaeological digs in the area, I can verify that there is little likelihood of future finds any different from what has been found in multitudes during past digs. The artifacts and other evidence from campsites and shell middens represent very basic cultures that exploited their available resources no differently than any other cultures of the past. The only value of these sites is for facilitating the efforts of graduate students in obtaining their advanced degrees in archaeology, by pretending that each has some special kind of significance, which they really do not. The discipline is better served by investigation of more interesting and important sites. Also, as others have mentioned, current underwater archaeological techniques are sufficient to examine any that might eventually be lost to land surface exploration.

Christopher Wood

Does it really matter! Museums basements all over the world are stuffed with bits of pot, bones, tiles etc. which few people ever see or, are ever examined. Archeology is an industry and its pursuit adds little to anything which is useful to modern society.
The main beneficiaries are the archaeologists whose careers are funded by grants.

Other than giving the overly educated and their groupies busy work, what do we really learn from such sites? How they wove baskets and made pots? What they ate?
Do we not have enough challenges in this world, to keep these people busy with the living, instead of the dead and long-long gone?
Modern societies are so many interested in killing the living and ‘resurrecting’ the dead, it is silly.
Want to really twist some brains? Propose a project to lower sea level, by pumping huge amounts of sea water into Death Valley and the Dead Sea AND only allowing the water to leave through evaporation. There would be soooo many groups up in arms (well, virtual arms) over it… we could dedicate a cable TV channel to it their committees and watching it snow on their AGW protests! 🙂

DaveF

Norm in Calgary and Jimmy Haigh:
“Great, now Archaeologists want a cut of the Global Warming pie.”
I’ve never understood why archaeologists and historians weren’t up in arms the minute the hockey stick appeared, since they’re the ones who would be familiar with the large amounts of evidence that the Roman and Mediaeval Warm Periods existed.

son of mulder

Last time we lost Atlantis but at least we found a lost city 120 feet down in the Bay of Cambay. Have we learnt nothing from the anthropogenic carbon excesses of our ancestors?

George Lawson

Well they haven’t much time to get their act together. It could rise by two or three centimetres in the next 50 or 100 years so they need to get that funding rolling in ASAP. But seriously, In a world where a sharp breeze can create waves of two metres high or more, who are they trying to kid?

1DandyTroll

Uhmkey so essentially the sea level rise of the last 8000 years that has flooded numerous thousands of now archeological sites is ok but the one inch rise in the comming century is bad even though it’s natural as well.
Supposedly archeological site get flooded because humans have always been strangely anal about living by the sea for some bogus reason or another. Trading, Fishing, pfft. :p

DaveF says:
“I’ve never understood why archaeologists and historians weren’t up in arms the minute the hockey stick appeared, since they’re the ones who would be familiar with the large amounts of evidence that the Roman and Mediaeval Warm Periods existed.”
There were plenty of objections, but they were drowned out by the shouting and panic over global warming. Tonyb has written some excellent articles on climate history and its effect on civilization, and the late, great John Daly pounced on Mann’s ridiculous hockey stick from the beginning. Here is one of his many articles on the subject.

Golf Charley

The UK City of Portsmouth, home to what is left of the Royal Navy (an aircraft carrier with no planes) is an island a few feet above sea level, with hundreds of years of history and archaeology.
Why aren’t residents running around like headless chickens, they are all doomed

DaveF

Smokey 3:16 am:
Thanks for that, Smokey, I’ll follow that up. Meanwhile, here in the uk Channel 4’s Time Team TV series, which is chock full of archaeologists and historians dutifully pushes the AGW line. Curious. Dave.

Graeme

I noticed while gazing there that my naval was at risk of being over run by lint – a global catastrophe of alarming proportions…
I think that I have simply had enough of being told that I need to be a frightened little bunny trapped in the headlights and waiting to be saved by government.

David A. Evans

Coastal areas erode all the time. Get over it for Gawds sake!
Dave.

But I thought Obama was to stop the sea levele from rising?

RACookPE1978

Dennis Nikols, P. Geol says:
October 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm (Edit)

I think the most telling point being made is not so much about rising sea levels but the other human caused problems that need mitigation. The developing of an index like this is useful and potentially valuable. The major problem they face is a one of setting a value of these places. Just because it is important to some archeologist does not mean it have any value to anyone else. This like much else in society and almost everything having to do with a changing climate or changing society, has different values to different people for almost always different reasons.

There is a common system to assigning value to multiple objectives and across multiple disciplines and – even – across long periods of time.
It’s called dollars, investments, and funding. But these self-centered ones cannot stand by their own merits annd debate openly the worth of their own interest in these low-lying (potential) sites that (potentially) might hold (potential) worth. So they exaggerate the extent, immediacy, and urgency of the “dangers” to these sites to artificially create a crisis in order that they can manipulate that crisis and publicity around that crisis.
These “alarmist archeologists” are merely exploiting today’s socialist/liberal/extremist/easily-excitable/gullible politicians to create an artificial demand for their particular services by law and by seizure (of land, sites, and funding) from others rather than by honest bargaining and open planning. But by manipulating certain members of the ruling class, they can get their way imposed on the rest of the world. And feel better about themselves.

Russ Hatch

I wonder if AL’s new seaside house is on the list of endangered sites.

David Y

Hmmmm….Given that much of California (esp. the area discussed here) is an accretion of island arcs that continue to move, isn’t this an utterly stupid argument? Earth is moving these bodies of land horizontally–and vertically as well–and likely at a pace that makes any hypothetical sea level rise irrelevant.
“But we must keep EVERYTHING exactly as it is right now, otherwise it’s the END OF THE WORLD!!!” sayeth the AGW crowd.
Oh please. Shut up and get back to work.

latitude

Lay one row of cement blocks…..
…..there, now you’re good for another 100 years