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Analysis and Comment (16)

It may already be too late to stop Antarctic ice sliding into the ocean. EPA

Why ice sheets will keep melting for centuries to come

Ice sheets respond slowly to changes in climate, because they are so massive that they themselves dominate the climate conditions over and around them. But once they start flowing faster towards the shore…
Australia’s coast is famous around the world - but rising sea levels are poised to make things a lot less fun. Adam J.W.C./Wikimedia Commons

Climate Council: without action, rising seas will cost us billions

“I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside” holds true for many Australians who live on or near the coast. On top of the many lifestyle amenities coastal living offers, much of the country’s crucial infrastructure…
The AAL Fremantle, borne along by a meteotsunami, hits the rail bridge next to Fremantle Harbour. ‏@Mattiegeesu via Twitter

Explainer: how weather can trigger dangerous tsunamis

At around 10pm on Sunday 17 August 2014, the container ship AAL Fremantle was being unloaded after arriving in Western Australia’s Fremantle Harbour, when it broke away from its mooring and collided with…
The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands could avoid being swamped entirely, although it will still suffer profoundly from sea-level rise. Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise

It is widely predicted that low-lying coral reef islands will drown as a result of sea-level rise, leaving their populations as environmental refugees. But new evidence now suggests that these small islands…
Swings and roundabouts: sea level rises are hard to predict. Danny Lawson/PA

Saving coastlines from flooding is an uncertain science

Coastal and river flooding struck Britain again this week with huge waves hitting southern and western coasts and around 100 flood warnings still in place by Wednesday evening. Disturbing but, sadly, not…
Clearing snow for a helicopter rescue makes for a dramatic photo, but let’s not forget the science. EPA/Andrew Peacock/Footloosefotography/spritiofmawson.com

An icebreaker gets stuck in the ice, photos are used to mislead

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and by now you might have seen dramatic images of passengers on stranded icebreaker Akademik Shokalskiy being rescued by helicopter last Friday…
Eroded beaches in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast, May 2013. John Reid, Environment Studio, ANU School of Art

Scrapping sea level protection puts Australian homes at risk

As the science on the coastal impacts of climate change gets stronger, the protections for Australia’s coastal communities are getting weaker. If that continues, everyone will pay. Along the eastern seaboard…
Miami, New York City… who’s next? Allstar/Fox 2000/Sportsphoto Ltd

The inevitability of sea level rise

Small numbers can imply big things. Global sea level rose by a little less than 0.2 metres during the 20th century – mainly in response to the 0.8 °C of warming humans have caused through greenhouse gas…
Increased coastal population growth and rising water levels could lead to damaged sewerage systems and water contamination. Flickr/autowitch

If the tide is high, our sewerage systems won’t hold on

Sea levels are rising and the world’s vast coastal settlements face many damaging changes. One of the most difficult and expensive challenges is the risk to the safe and effective operation of our sewerage…
New Jersey was hit hard by the storm surge. Michael Reynolds/AAP

Losing higher ground: hurricanes and sea level rise

As I write this, the worst coastal flooding effects from Hurricane Sandy’s attack on the densely populated regions of the US northeast are almost over. Even so, the effects have been significant: record…
Sea levels are rising globally at record-breaking rates and Antarctica is playing an increasing role. Matt King

Weigh-in reveals Antarctica’s losing 190 million tonnes a day

A small slice of Antarctica turns up along your coastline each year. We’re all glad it’s just a small slice, given Antarctica could deliver a total sea-level rise of 59 metres. That’s not going to happen…
We need to know more about how ice sheets interact with the warming oceans and warming atmosphere. Greenpeace/ADavies

Improving sea-level projections

Satellite and in situ observations show sea level is continuing to rise. In the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, earth system model projections indicated global sea-level rise by…
What is Australia’s responsibility for low-lying neighbours like Palau? CasaDeQueso

See you in court: the rising tide of international climate litigation

The Pacific Island State of Palau recently announced it will seek an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asking whether countries have a responsibility to avoid their emissions…

Research and News (6)

Research Briefs (10)

Arctic ice at its lowest

Arctic sea ice coverage is at its lowest since observations began in 1972. Ice coverage in the Arctic has declined by 11…