A new report from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows a steady rise in relative sea level along Galveston Island with sea level rising presently at the highest rate of 32 monitored locations around the country.

“The sea level rise rate in Galveston is accelerating and has been over the past couple of years, increasing slightly faster than in the previous 10-year period,” Molly Mitchell, a researcher on the project, said.

The report comprises interactive web-based charts projecting sea level out to the year 2050 based on analysis of tide-gauge records for 32 stations along the U.S. coastline, including the Galveston Pier 21 station operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The report measures relative sea level rise, taking into account both rising waters and subsidence or sinking of the land.

Rockport, to the south, showed a fast rise rate of 6.72 millimeters per year compared with Galveston’s rate of 6.19, and the highest rate of acceleration through 2018, making its year 2050 projection 2.6 feet above 1992 levels.

Sea level at Galveston will rise to about 1.6 feet above 1992 levels by 2050 if current conditions continue, according to the report.

Sea level in coastal waters around Galveston rose a little more than 2 feet in the 107 years from 1908 to 2015, according to data collected by NOAA at the Pier 21 station.

The Virginia Institute report is designed to localize sea level rise rates and to make them more timely than global sea level projections that are more often in front of the public, David Malmquist, a spokesperson for the Virginia team, said.

The idea behind the report is to give communities tools to look into the future with sea level in mind, researchers said.

“Really, our goal with this kind of work, making these projections, is to give people good information they can use for future planning,” Mitchell said.

“It’s about how we learn to organize our landscape, answering questions like where do we want to put new developments and major roadways.”

The report shows several measures, including monthly mean sea level, a figure obtained through tidal measurements at the Pier 21 station, absent predictable tidal variations. Monthly mean sea level is the measure most concerned with the rate of sea-level change relative to piers, buildings, homes and streets.

The Galveston report shows a linear rise in sea level due to steric processes or changes in density and volume of seawater relative to temperature or salinity. Warming and freshening of seawater reduces density of the water, thus increasing volume and contributing to sea level rise, according to the report.

Galveston waters are also affected, though at a rate of medium acceleration, by global rise associated with ice melts in Greenland and Antarctica, and by subsidence of the land although the rate of subsidence appears to have leveled off in recent years.

These reports, in addition to informing planning for development of housing and roads, also predict the need for open land or buffers between shoreline and uplands where coastal marsh wetlands can retreat or migrate as sea level rises over time, Mitchell said.

“We have been talking with decision makers in Maryland and Virginia, in the Chesapeake Bay area, about this,” Mitchell said.

“I think it’s early yet, but the message is starting to get through that we have to make a decision about whether we want wetlands to persist and how we are going to use the land immediately behind the wetlands.”

To see the full Galveston report, visit www.vims.edu/research/products/slrc/localities/gatx/index.php.

Kathryn Eastburn: 409-683-5257; kathryn.eastburn@galvnews.com.

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(32) comments

Ray Taft

Oh no, disaster is coming our way. At least we’ve been warned! “The idea behind the report is to give communities tools to look into the future with sea level in mind, researchers said.”

Better move The Daily News unto the mainland! Sell all beach front property. Stop all improvements on Galveston Island. Tell the cruise lines not to come to Galveston. We definitely won’t need to build a coastal barrier to protect the City of Galveston.

Don’t be a Climate Change Denier, act now!

Gary Miller

Ray. I'm having doubts about the experts predictions. Back in the 90's America's global warming EXPERT? Al Gore predicted Miami would be under water in ten years. Miami is still 11 feet above water. Their water front hotels are still hundreds of feet from the surf. Who should we believe? AOC the NY City brat who says Earth will be uninhabitable in 12 years. Really?

Pete Nanos

Junk science. Don't believe it? Just ask Sea captains and Ferry operators. Al Gore predicted Miami would be under water by now....still high and dry. "The world will end in twelve years if we don't turn this around now". Anyone want to make a substantial bet on that? This is the hysteria that comes when socialists have nothing to offer. It's the only political option they have. Does the world need stewards. Yes, and this country has done the most to reduce it's carbon footprint. Do we need to sacrifice all in order to satisfy lunatics on the fringe? If you really believe in this cause, move to China or India where your calls for reducing carbon will do the most good. Leave a will before you go.

Gary Miller

Pete. AOC's solution, the Green New Deal, for Climate change doesn't include India, China, EU or any other industrial country. Destroying the U.S. economy, the only world economy actually reducing emissions, and letting them pick up the slack. Voting for stupid won't fix it.

George Croix

What possible difference does it make.
Life on all of Earth will be gone in 12 years.
Just ask AOC and any of the current left wing presidential candidate front runners....

Perspective......[beam][cool][rolleyes]

Robert Waggoner

Okay with me. I always wanted water front property especially if there is a hurricane that destroys my house. I'll drop my insurance and let the government pay for a new house like they do to certain people in Galveston that lived on the waterfront of the beach.

Randy Chapman

"Sea level in coastal waters around Galveston rose a little more than 2 feet in the 107 years from 1908 to 2015, according to data collected by NOAA at the Pier 21 station."

How is NOAA accounting for oil and groundwater subsidence in that period of time? Is subsidence included in the figure, or just discounted completely in bolstering the figures?

kathryneastburn Staff
Kathryn Eastburn

Subsidence is included in the measure of relative sea level rise, historically and in future projections: "The report measures relative sea level rise, taking into account both rising waters and subsidence or sinking of the land."

Michelle Aycoth

I predict in 50 years the sea levels will fall due to natural climate change.
Just because the shoreline is 100 ft further back do not indicate sea level rise, have you heard of erosion?
Andrew Aycoth

Gary Scoggin

You can ridicule this information or not, I suppose, but I think we would come to regret ignoring it in planning future facilities.

George Croix

You are exactly right, Gary.

Even before it became a wildly politicized subject, it's never been a really smart move to try and game Ma Nature, and building right on the coast when it's not necessary is a roll of the dice......if one KNOWS there's a problem area, then act accordingly....

SOME of the ridicule is well deserved, though, considering conveniently altered or manipulated or reported data is not exactly a rare thing, so it might be worth a healthy dose of scepticism along with an equally healthy dose of reality considering the economic and political stakes at hand.....
One guy made a 100 million bucks telling everybody else to do what he didn't do himself, and still doesn't, then sold out to the same folks he accused of being the biggest climate destroying industry.....was that an exception??
There's NO doubt that climate change exists.....it's been here since the Earth was formed....
It's GLOBAL.....the operative word............

George Croix

I wonder if anybody has checked how much Pier 21 has, itself, settled, and re-calibrated...
Anyway, the report says that subsidence hereabouts has lessened in recent years.
Be nice to know what 'recent' means, as groundwater removal has been markedly reduced for about 40 years now, and the subsidence duration average would make a difference in the relative calculations of yearly rate/change.
Without knowing the whole story, we hear what the storytellers want us to hear......and NOAA has been known...known...to do a bit of climate data books cooking before....

Gary Miller

George. Why do I suspect the Senior Exicutive Group of NOAA was appointed by Obama. AOC the NY City brat claims truth or facts aren't as important as MORAL CORRECTNESS.

George Croix

Then AOC should start walking her talk, if it's all about 'morality'....
As usual with The Usual Suspects, they talk one way and act the opposite....
That's how you can tell what a lefty is really doing...whatever they are lecturing or accusing others of......
I actually don't think ex-Pres. Obama squat to do with NOAA's occasional diversions to an ideological based course. The people he placed there would have been looking out for #1 anyway, as all vested in the business of selling a concept for a profit are....
He was just the Sock Puppet President, lotta talk to say whatever his handlers wanted him to say, and whatever would make him a very multi-millionaire living the good life after screwing over everybody in the country for 8 years..
He's no longer relevant....except to the Russians, where he now has a LOT of 'flexibility'.....

Paul Hyatt

God set the limits of the seas and man is not affecting them.... To many scientists disclaim the AGW garbage. Al Gore is the high priestess of the AGW group as they want total control over the masses. If AGW was real why do all of the rich like Gore continue to fly their own private jets? After all if he was actually telling the truth he would be setting an example. But he lies as he has built an empire on the lie of AGW. Wake up America....

Steve Fouga

Do y'all deny that the sea level is rising?

George Croix

I don't, anymore than I deny that the land is sinking, and the shores eroding.....

Pretty much the same as has been happening for, oh, always...certainly in this area.....at least since Man decided to suck the water out of the ground and replace millions of tons of soil with billions of billions of tons of concrete and steel.....

I do not care to hear the high priests of climate change telling us we have to 'do less harm' while themselves living large the opposite way, and pretending that China and India, as but two, care...

THIS country has done more than any on the planet to fight pollution and improve air and water quality.....and will continue to do so...unless we are bankrupted by folks who say it's never enough.........

Steve Fouga

When I fished in Galveston 50 years ago, I stood on rocks that are now submerged, or at least swamped by boat wakes at high tide. It was known at the time that the relative sea level (incl water height + subsidence) was rising, and nobody denied it. It was a fairly easily measurable phenomenon that everyone I knew took at face value.

Now the mere mention of sea level rise brings a torrent of denial, disapproval, condemnation, etc. That's why I asked the question. From the comments, it sounded like some were questioning the data itself, nowadays a much more knowable quantity than 50 years ago.

I'm amazed when folks are unwilling to address the RESULTS of climate change, just because they don't understand or believe its CAUSE.

George Croix

"When I fished in Galveston 50 years ago...."

Below are a couple of half boring-half interesting reports on area subsidence from 40 or so years ago....

http://www.twdb.texas.gov/publications/reports/numbered_reports/doc/R188.pdf

https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1182/pdf/07Houston.pdf

I think, personally, you're misreading some of the 'opposition' and discounting their belief(s) in TWO different 'climate changes'....imo, of course...
There's (1)the REAL climate change where at this point what's gonna happen is gonna happen and it's of no practical importance whether it's 100% nature or 100% man caused, because it is, now, what it is, and changes in our part of the globe will do squat to impact the whole rest of it unless ALL of the other contributors get with the effort. THIS country has made gi-normous advances in 'green' and 'earth friendly' technologies and applications in the last 40 years, yet, stuffs still going south, we're told.....that would lead to a logical conclusion that others on the global stage are cancelling out some of our efforts.
Then there's (2) the 'climate change' carefully designed to be all about power and control, and marketed to produce exactly that. Clues supporting that are in the very non-actions themselves of the people telling us we're all dead or at least freezing or burning up in a few years unless we Act Now, which is coincidentally pretty much what we were told 40 years ago and even ten years ago. Yet we are not, and have not, so an astute observer might well conclude their motives for such alarmism fall into the realm of 'what's in it for me' if they can convince enough people to elect them to 'lead' or buy their books or pay to listen to their speeches or buy 'carbon credits' or whatever transfers wealth from Everybody Else to Them. One might note the dearth of "Do as I do" among them, but a plethora of "Do as I say" as they RETAIN for themselves that which we are told to forgo, lest we all perish.....

Unwilling to address the results?
I thought that was exactly WHAT is being addressed...the actual results, not the induced panic of predicted results that, so far, have been about 90% bunk....

About those rocks and the waves washing over them because the sea level is rising....may be....
I have in my back yard a large rock carefully placed to either cause me extra string trimmer work OR be a 'decorative accent point', depending on whether me or my wife is talking about it.....
In the nearly 30 years since we built this place and put it there, it's now at least 6" further down in the ground than when it was first set....
I'm pretty sure that neither subsidence or sea level rise is in play there, but natural settling and erosion sure are....
A rock is a rock is a rock................

Steve Fouga

"natural settling and erosion sure are.... "

Good point. That's three causes -- settling/erosion, sea level rise, subsidence.

George Croix

Excellent.
Consensus....maybe it'll catch on and break out all over......[wink]
In the meantime, the kicker is to 'do something' about it all that is not a net loser.
Somewhere in between a LOT shorter than the 'Green New Deal' that only a psychopath or at least a sociopath, or maybe just a simple idiot, could think is a good idea and the current pretty darn good controls we already have. It's important to gather speed and build up stamina, not sprint full out then have a national stroke.
THIS country must not be hamstrung, or crippled, in the vain attempt to 'save the planet'....we're the only ones of any size and ability and wealth (well, comparatively...) to actually DO anything significant, and that WOULD do anything significant, but we're kidding ourselves to think we'll have even a smidgen of impact 'globally' with the counterpunches from India or China and their mostly unregulated industrial engines or, for that matter, stop folks in Africa and South America from destroying and polluting in their quest for immediate personal survival.
I'm thinking about the best we can do is make things better or stabilized for us, and and collateral effects that others might pick up on then good.
AND until the politics goes away, until the Usual Suspects stop their two-faced, everybody-has-to-but-me preaching and vilifying, and start walking their talk as examples, it's just going to be a stirring stick for the Political Bases......

Steve Fouga

George, my point, poorly made, is that we should at least not delay in addressing the RESULTS of climate change like, for example: stronger and wetter storms, hotter and dryer droughts, rising seas at our coastal military installations and loss of ice on Canada's north coast, potential for famine in underdeveloped countries, inland migration of populations, etc.

The Defense Department began working those issues within its purview years ago when I was still in the bidness. DoD considers them threats to national security just like it does nukes, terrorism, cyberwarfare, and so on. I hope the Interior, Agriculture, and Homeland Security Departments, and budget offices are also accounting for climate change. These and others need to be setting policy. People always think environmental policy, regs, restrictions, etc., but it's far more pervasive than that. Think insurance reform, infrastructure modernization, foreign aid, immigration policy, fisheries and farms, protection of national assets like your refineries, the list is long because EVERYTHING is affected by climate change.

The problem is that DENIAL is not helpful to these efforts. It thwarts the ability to get political buy-in, congressional support, and ultimately funding. I wish we could somehow separate our responses to cause and effect. I'm way more worried about the effect, because like you say, it's happening now, and will continue to happen for a long time. I care more about whether the seawall is tall enough than the stuff coming out of my tailpipe.

George Croix

I understand the point fully.

If the problem were presented in terms like they've been mostly presented herein, a LOT more people would not be predisposed to take either the Chicken Little viewpoint OR the No Problem one.

As is so often the case, politics suck up all of the oxygen.


Gary Miller

Steve. Of course it is. Still not as high as it was during the last warm period when Greenland had more farmers than ice and the Artic ocean was ice free every summer for 4 hundred years in a row. Climate change is always hapening. Warmer for 5 or 6 hundred years then colder for 5 or 6 hundred years. The only difference now Democrats hadn't thought of a way to make money or power from it. No one living today remembers the last cooling cycle because it ended in 1885. A Civil war battle in Tennessee was during a snow storm. In July?

Steve Fouga

"Still not as high as it was during the last warm period" -- Not true. It's higher now than in the last warm period.

"Artic ocean was ice free every summer for 4 hundred years in a row" -- Not true. It's been 100,000-120,000 years since the Arctic has been ice-free. There was a reason it was hard to find a Northwest Passage. Not hard anymore, though.

It's funny that you think because natural climate change exists, that man-made climate change DOESN'T. Can't you see that BOTH might exist? And no matter what the cause, don't you think we should do something about it?

Gary Miller

Steve. The American war of independence, War of 1812 and Our Civil war all were during the last global cooling cycle.

Jarvis Buckley

Well one positive outcome is there will be an increase in wetlands.

Jarvis Buckley

One cold winter morning about 15 years ago
my wife & I were walking on the beach on the WestEnd & the north winds and tide had pushed the water out much farther than usual.
As we walked the beach we were able to see old piers & docks that had been submerged for many many years. It was erie. A glimpse of the past.

Gary Scoggin

Sea level rise is easy to accurately measure, even accounting for subsidence. It is rising.

The earth’s temperature is easy to accurately measure. It is getting warmer.

Those two facts are easy to link scientifically. And they are linked.

We can debate man’s role in all of this but the fact is that sea levels are rising and we need to plan accordingly. And, for what it’s worth, many companies building marine and offshore structures these days plan for this and pay extra money to make sure facilities intended to last for the next few decades are designed with sea level rise in mind.

George Croix

What we need to settle things out is that mini-Ice Age predicted 45 years ago to be happening right about...now.....[beam][beam]

But, seriously, Gary is RIGHT.
Just as Man has done since he got here, we need to adapt and plan and prepare for changes that occur around us and to us.....
Equally seriously, there's a BIG difference between what he says, planning and preparing for a problem, and with alarmism and outright deception designed primarily to do nothing more than transfer power and wealth.....or, the politics of the subject, as they have become.....
It's probably not a good plan to blindly follow the folks telling you we have to kill America, to save it and the planet.....

Gary Scoggin

There is a lot of conversation around climate adaptation. This is basically the notion that we will see the effects of a warming climate for a long time to come. Therefore, we better get used to it and plan for it. The sea level rise conversation is a part of the bigger adaptation discussion. Many companies look at climate impacts on new projects and then look at how appropriate adaptation measures can be built in.

Just an example, say based upon projected wave height and other stuff you are designing a fixed offshore platform to have 5 meters of freeboard above the water. If during the life of the facility, you expect one meter of sea level rise you might design 6 meters of freeboard instead. Another example, if you are designing a gas turbine for a mean summer temperature of 80F but you expect 4F in temperature increase over the life of the machine, your new design basis may be 84F. (These are simplifications but hopefully I'm making the point.)

George Croix

So, no more throwing a fire monitor stream up onto the compressor discharge fans to get some temporary cooling increase....[beam][beam][innocent]

Gary, what the MSM is SORELY lacking along with too many 'leaders' and 'celebrities' and 'prognosticators' is EXACTLY that kind of reasoned talk......rather, we get the 'anyone disagreeing is an evil denier' speeches and the 'world will end in 12 years' idiocies....
I expect all that, though, to cease right about the 12th........
Of Never...
Too much vested politics all around..........
The good news is, the businesses sorely impacted by altering conditions don't give a flip about the politics as much as the profit, and will act in their best interests accordingly, unless some twit bartender from Noo Yawk and the equally clueless top Dem 2020 Presidential self-declared piggybackers along for the ride succeed in even a smidgen of their 'green' plans......
can't fix 'em......

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