sea level rise

The Other Source of Sea Level Rise

New studies reveal that water consumption worldwide may be contributing to sea level rise as dramatically as melting land ice. Freshwater from the world’s aquifers is being pumped for human use, channeled into agriculture and municipal wells—and ultimately into rivers and then oceans. Sea level expert Robert Nicholls of the University of Southampton in England said that climate change will remain the significant driver of sea level rise. But even if society managed to mitigate climate issues, burgeoning ground water consumption would contribute to sea level rise. While reservoirs have so far offset freshwater flowing into the world’s ocean, aquifer systems have caused sea level rise at an average rate of one millimeter per year since 1961.

Read more at The Guardian.

Sea Level Rise and Florida Coastal Forests

No doubt most Floridians are aware of the potential challenges of sea level rise–at least in relationship to their houses, property, and communities. Ecosystems, though, may be a less visible problem for many residents of the sunshine state.

Francis E. “Jack” Putz wants to bring the plight of at least one ecosystem community to the foreground. He recently published an article, “Coastal Forests Retreat as Sea Levels Rise,” about how Florida’s coastal forests will likely respond to sea level rise.

“I hope that Floridians accept that sea level rise is something about which we need to be concerned now, and not just people in [other countries] and not just our children’s children,” Putz wrote in an email release about the article that has been published in the Palmetto, a quarterly journal for the Florida Native Plant Society.

“[The article] is 20 years of research,” said the professor of conservation biology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. Putz teaches courses on the ecology and management of local and tropical ecosystems. His research includes silviculture, fire ecology, and ethnobotany.