Ocean Views: A picture is worth a thousand words

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 7:45am

The recent storm had a fierce erosive effect on the island’s outer shorelines. The same storm surges, coupled with full moon high tides, produced unusually high water in the largely protected Great Salt Pond, and associated inner harbors. 

The level of water that we witnessed on March 3 is equivalent to a two-foot sea level rise. Based on the science, the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council is predicting that Rhode Island will experience two feet of sea level rise by 2050 — and seven to 10 feet by 2100.

That means that the high tide flooding that was experienced on March 3, 2017 (now a rare event) will be the daily normal high tide in 2050, with storm surges pushing flood water even higher and further inland.

The year 2050 may seem like some abstract date far away into the future, but it means that any baby born this year (perhaps your child or grandchild) will turn just 32 years old that year. Your kids and grandkids will be the ones affected by a changing climate, and will be the people trying to figure out how to be resilient and cope with increasing property protection issues related to increasing sea level rise and more extreme weather events — unless mitigation measures are planned, and implemented, soon.

To learn more about the sea level rise predictions for this region, and view CRMC’s sea level rise models for Rhode Island — including Block Island, visit beachsamp.org/stormtools/