27 March 2010

The Rising Sea--Book Review

The Rising Sea by Orrin Pilkey and Rob Young (details here from Island Press, or check this link), is well worth reading. Pilkey (Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines within the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University) and Young (Professor of Geosciences at Western Carolina University) know the science of the shoreline in great detail, and convey their story in relatively accessible prose.

They aren't writing primarily about "global warming" or "climate change", but about the undeniable and inexorable rise in sea levels around the globe, and some of the predictable consequences. They decry the shortsightedness of coastal development that ignores future coastal changes for present gain, and they are no friends of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Their technical content shouldn't fluster anyone who took science courses in high school (and paid attention) and their message is clear from their prose if you didn't. The reader should come away with at least an inkling of the issues of geographic change, habitat loss and economic disruption that are developing at the interface between shoreline development and rising seas and flood levels.

Sea level rise is in the news often (as seen in two items in this issue of HaraBara Daily Brief) but is usually remote from the daily concerns of most of us. The very different Earth of our grandchildren will see it as a significant issue and cause of vast public expenditure.

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