Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seaports need a plan for weathering climate change

Donna Hesterman in Domain B: A warming planet means rising oceans, but seaports are not prepared for the expensive construction they will need to protect themselves, according to a global survey of ports conducted by Stanford researchers. But the researchers have created a computer model that will help ports with their planning.

The majority of seaports around the world are unprepared for the potentially damaging impacts of climate change in the coming century, according to a new Stanford University study.

In a survey posed to port authorities around the world, the Stanford team found that most officials are unsure how best to protect their facilities from rising sea levels and more frequent Katrina-magnitude storms, which scientists say could be a consequence of global warming. Results from the survey are published in the journal Climatic Change.

"Part of the problem is that science says that by 2100, we'll experience anywhere from 1.5 to 6 feet of sea level rise," said the study's lead author, Austin Becker, a graduate student at Stanford. "That's a huge range."…

Ships in Hamburg's harbor, around 1890

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