Is There a Sea Level Rise Problem?

One of the most serious coming effects of climate change as declared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will be rising sea levels. Global Mean Sea Level has risen steadily by  around eleven inches since 1940 and the IPCC projects an acceleration as higher global temperatures cause the oceans to expand. Let’s say it might rise by two feet by the year 2100.

I got to thinking, the level of Lake Champlain varies by six feet over the course of each year, and that’s been going on since Champlain first visited here in 1609.

Then last month my daughter bought a house on an inlet in coastal Maine. She remarked to me that twice a day her pretty little inlet is a broad stretch of mud with a tiny stream down the middle, as the tide comes in and out. She said “if I’m out in the middle of the inlet in our kayak, and lose track of time, I can’t get out of the boat and walk to shore because the mud is deep and impassable.”

So it occurred to me that if people living along Lake Champlain can cope with a six foot change in the high water mark every year, and the folks on the Maine coast can deal with a six foot change in the high water mark every twelve hours, why are we worrying about a 2 foot rise sea level in eighty years?


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