Coastal wetlands and coral reef islands will struggle to grow fast enough to keep pace with rising sea levels driven by climate change, according to a new study published in Nature.
Coastal wetlands and coral reef islands will struggle to grow fast enough to keep pace with rising sea levels driven by climate change, according to a new study published in Nature. The study was conducted by an international team that includes a Tulane University researcher. The findings show that the future of marshes and other low-lying coastal areas depend heavily on whether global warming can be limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as formulated by the Paris Agreement.
A key finding of the paper is that coastal marshes, mangroves, and reef islands are unlikely to keep pace with rates of sea-level rise that exceed 7 millimeters (about one quarter of an inch) per year. This rate is likely to occur by the year 2100 in most parts of the world in the absence of major efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Higher rates of sea-level rise, however, are already being observed along the Gulf Coast and previous Tulane research has shown that the current rate of sea-level rise could “drown” marshlands in Louisiana, and possibly other areas along the Gulf Coast, in about 50 years.
Read more at: Tulane University
Coral reef islands are losing the battle with sea-level rise, as exemplified by Beneamina, Solomon Islands, in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo Credit: Simon Albert)