National Geographic News
Picture of a house being moved

Rising sea levels and beach erosion are threatening houses in the Outer Banks; this one is being moved farther from shore. Photograph by David Alan Harvey, Magnum

special-feature-outer-banks-rippled-road--s2048x1311--p.jpg

Sara Peach

National Geographic News

Published July 25, 2014

The tourists flocking to North Carolina's Outer Banks right now know that the joys of summer there—the gorgeous beaches, the wild horses, the views of the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras—come to an end as the season fades.

 

But they may not know that the place itself is disappearing from the map.

Under the combined effects of storms, development, and sea-level rise, portions of this narrow, 200-mile island chain are collapsing, says Stanley Riggs, a coastal geologist at East Carolina University in Greenville.

"We're losing them right now," he says. "In the next ten years, it's going to be awful."

In an area of Hatteras Island between Avon and Buxton, the beach has receded about 2,500 feet in the past 150 years. That portion of the island has narrowed to just 25 percent of its original width, according to Riggs. In Buxton and Rodanthe, and farther north in Nags Head, houses and hotels once solidly on land stand on spindly stilts in the surf.

State Highway 12, the only road to Hatteras Island, repeatedly has buckled and washed out during storms. It briefly closed after Hurricane Arthur made landfall July 3.

The erosion is set to worsen as sea-level rise accelerates around the world because of global warming. (Read "Rising Seas" in National Geographic magazine.)

As that happens, coastal communities everywhere will face the same wrenching decisions that confront Outer Banks inhabitants today—and that are causing enormous fear there, says Michael Orbach, professor emeritus of marine policy at Duke University's marine lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. What's at stake for locals is not just summer fun but a way of life and an entire economy that is now based on tourism.

"All these effects that people have been talking about for years are now actually starting to be seen," Orbach says. "And they realize that we don't know what to do about it."

In Focus
Picture of people sitting on steps in water

A family sits on the steps of what was once their summer home, destroyed by Hurricane Irene in August 2011. Photograph by David Alan Harvey, Magnum

Picture of condemned houses on a beach

Ocean waves lap the stilts of a row of condemned homes in Nags Head in June 2014. Photograph by Nikki Kahn, Washington Post/Getty Images

Video: What If Your Home Was Slipping Into the Ocean?

 

Video by Sara Peach and Eileen Mignoni

A Prediction, Then a Backlash

Riggs has been studying the state's coastline since 1967, when he got a job at East Carolina University to start a coastal and marine science program in an unused building on Roanoke Island. In 2010, he was a member of a science panel that produced a controversial report warning that North Carolina could face 39 inches (1 meter) of sea-level rise by 2100, as glaciers melt and ocean waters warm and expand.

 

The report prompted a backlash from coastal developers and climate skeptics—and in 2012, from the state. Lawmakers in Raleigh considered a bill that would have prohibited state agencies from planning for accelerated sea-level rise.

Environmentalists were outraged, bloggers snickered, and even comedian Stephen Colbert weighed in: "If your science gives you a result you don't like, pass a law saying the result is illegal," he joked. "Problem solved."

Eventually, the state settled on a watered-down version of the law: a four-year moratorium on sea-level regulations, and an order for a new scientific study of sea-level rise, due out in 2015. In May, a state commission asked the science panel to limit its next sea-level forecast to 30 years.

The irony of the whole argument, Riggs says, is that the coast as we know it is already vanishing. "Sea-level rise and storms are taking out eastern North Carolina today—not a hundred years from now. They're doing it today," he says.

Two other scientists who have studied North Carolina's coast, Orrin Pilkey, an emeritus professor of Earth sciences at Duke University in Durham, and Rob Young, director of a shoreline research program at Duke and Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, agree that the islands are undergoing significant changes.

"Portions of the Outer Banks, particularly Hatteras Island, are in big, big trouble right now," says Young, who was also a member of the sea-level science panel. "That barrier island is falling apart."

As barrier islands, the Outer Banks experience the natural process of shifting sands, which creates inlets. Inlets provide a pathway for both humans and the aquatic ecosystem between the sound and the ocean. They're also yet another measure of the vulnerability of islands such as these.

Map of the Outer Banks with sea-level rise

MAGGIE SMITH, KELSEY NOWAKOWSKI, NG STAFF. SOURCES: Climate Central Surging Seas Risk Finder; MALLISON ET AL., 2008; USGS; NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Map of a lighthouse

When Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built in 1870, it stood a safe 1,500 feet from the ocean. After a century of natural shoreline erosion, the ocean was a mere 120 feet away. In 1999 the lighthouse was relocated to a safer location.

As barrier islands, the Outer Banks experience the natural process of shifting sands, which creates inlets. Inlets provide a pathway for both humans and the aquatic ecosystem between the sound and the ocean. They're also yet another measure of the vulnerability of islands such as these.

Map of the Outer Banks with sea-level rise

MAGGIE SMITH, KELSEY NOWAKOWSKI, NG STAFF. SOURCES: Climate Central Surging Seas Risk Finder; MALLISON ET AL., 2008; USGS; NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

When Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built in 1870, it stood a safe 1,500 feet from the ocean. After a century of natural shoreline erosion, the ocean was a mere 120 feet away. In 1999 the lighthouse was relocated to a safer location.

Map of a lighthouse

"Critical Condition"

One evening in late June, Carol Dawson, owner of the Cape Hatteras Motel in Buxton, on Hatteras Island, gazed out at the surf from her motel balcony. Over the years, she has watched the ocean eat closer to her buildings.

"Our property line is about where that wave is cresting," she says, gesturing toward a point about 500 feet out in the water.

At the motel next door, owned by Dawson's mother, children capered on sandbags piled on what remains of the beach. Every few minutes, a wave washed around the sandbags and under the steps of the motel units closest to the water.

Dawson says repeated closures of State Highway 12 have hurt business on Hatteras Island. As the ocean edges closer to her motel, Dawson says her business is in critical condition.

In 2012, according to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism generated $926 million just in Dare County, which includes most of Hatteras Island, Kitty Hawk, and the town of Nags Head. Summer visitors swell the population of Nags Head from 3,000 to 60,000.

"Our only industry is the tourist industry, and without a beach there is no tourist industry," says Nags Head Mayor Bob Edwards.

Picture of a road broken by water

Route 12 on Hatteras Island was cut in five locations by Hurricane Irene. Photograph by Steve Helber, AP

Shifting Sands

People often describe the Outer Banks as fragile, but the sandy islands are remarkably resilient, at least in the natural course of things. Just as engineers design buildings in earthquake zones to sway with the movements of the Earth, barrier islands move in response to storms and sea-level rise.

During the last ice age, 20,000 years ago, so much water was locked up in continental ice sheets that sea level was 410 feet lower than it is today, and the Atlantic coastline was 15 to 40 miles east of the present-day Outer Banks, according to a book Riggs co-authored, The Battle for North Carolina's Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future.

Barrier islands formed off North Carolina's coast at least 7,000 years ago, after most of the ice had melted. Over the millennia, as sea-level rise continued at a slower pace, the islands and the sound behind them moved landward. They began forming in their current location 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, when the sea all but stopped rising.

Since 1900, it's been rising again at an accelerated pace, due in large part, climate scientists say, to man-made global warming. In principle, the islands should be migrating west.

The mechanism works like this: From time to time, storms slice new inlets through the islands. Seawater rushes through, depositing sand behind them. Meanwhile, waves and wind push sand across the top of the islands. As the ocean side erodes and the sound side grows, the islands slowly roll over themselves, like a bulldozer's tread.

Or at least they would if the same development that transformed the Outer Banks into a vacation wonderland hadn't jammed the machinery of island migration.

Picture of houses in a hurricane

In 1954, Hurricane Hazel washed out houses in Morehead City, North Carolina. Photograph by Clifton Guthrie, AP

Before World War II, the people who lived in the islands' fishing communities built their houses on high ground, far from the ocean's edge, and traveled by boat. That started to change in the 1950s, when paving began on State Highway 12. To protect the road from storms, workers piled sand east of the highway on artificial dunes first built in the 1930s. When storms carved inlets through the road, engineers filled them.

The dune-building and inlet-filling blocked the movement of sand across the islands. On the ocean side, the islands kept eroding, but now they didn't grow on the sound side. So they narrowed.

Other engineering projects meant to protect human activities, such as dredging and building hard structures called jetties and groins, made erosion worse, Riggs says.

Even so, the road brought tourists, and a new economy developed around beachfront rental homes, hotels, and stores. The permanent population of Dare County, about 35,000, is six times as large today as it was in 1950—and the residents all have a stake in preserving the islands where they are.

The ultimate fate of the islands depends on how quickly the rise in sea level accelerates in the coming decades and how many major hurricanes slam the islands. Riggs predicts the lowest, narrowest islands could break up into a system of small, eroded island remnants and shoals.

Without human interference, the islands would adapt to accelerating sea-level rise by migrating west, says Duke's Pilkey. Instead, because of engineering projects, they're "standing perfectly still, and we're beating our head against the wall trying to hold those shorelines in place."

Will we succeed?

"No, of course not."

Picture of a man walking on a damaged road

A Dare County sheriff's deputy walks down damaged Route 12 after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Photograph by Steve Earley, Virginian-Pilot/AP

To Stay or to Go?

Riggs has proposed that the state remove portions of State Highway 12 and stop maintaining the large dunes that protect it. Withdrawing the road and dunes would allow sand to wash over the islands and rebuild them. In his view, tourists could travel by ferry, like those that connect people to Ocracoke and Bald Head Islands today.

The idea doesn't appeal to locals, who say ferries couldn't keep pace with the number of visitors who want access to the islands. "It's not 1950," says Dawson, the motel owner. She's in favor of shoring up narrowing beaches with sand delivered from elsewhere.

The town of Nags Head completed a $36 million "beach nourishment project" in 2011, paid for with local taxes. Edwards, the mayor of Nags Head, says nourishment protected the tourism industry and buffered the town during Hurricane Sandy.

According to a survey conducted in June by the contracting company that completed the Nags Head project, 97 percent of the sand from the project still remains. But Nags Head may be an outlier; Riggs says other beach nourishment projects in the state lasted only two or three years.

Beach nourishment isn't a long-term solution, says Orbach, the marine policy specialist, because there isn't enough sand to go around for all of the communities on the Atlantic Coast that will want it in the next 50 years.

"As a practical matter, we will try to defend some places for some period of time," he says. "But also as a practical matter, we will not be able to defend most coastal places throughout time. We will, in fact, retreat from most coastal places when the sea level gets more than one or two meters above where it is now."

For Hatteras residents such as Ernie Foster, 69, a charter-boat captain, retreat would mean more than packing a moving van. Foster's great-grandparents and grandparents were born on the Outer Banks.

When Hurricane Arthur came through in early July, he stayed home, despite a mandatory evacuation order. He loves the way his community sticks together to rebuild after a storm, he says.

Asked how he would feel about leaving Hatteras, Foster's eyes well up.

"My family cemetery, down behind the home that I grew up in, is one in which my grandfather and my father and mother and some uncles and aunts are buried, and I will be buried there as well," Foster says. "When the island washes away, I'll just go with it."

Eileen Mignoni contributed reporting.

Picture of seafoam washing over a seawall

High waves hit the breakwater near the Avalon Pier in Nags Head during 2010's Tropical Storm Sean. Photograph by David Alan Harvey, Magnum

35 comments
Wendy DeLigio
Wendy DeLigio

Whoa! I think growing up on the OBX is a blessing in disguise! We tend to take for granted what we see everyday. This place is my home, it's my husbands home, it's our soul. We've been away for 16 years due to our many ventures with the Air Force and long for the day when we retire and purchase a home in the place where our souls reside. I think I have an outsiders view now...... As I'm looking for homes for sale along the OBX I'm reminded of just how fragile our hometown is. It never hit me when I was growing up there. It's hitting me now. The video on this page gives me chills. My family and I spent a lot of time down south when I was a kid with our main home being in Manteo.  My father was a Historic Preservation Specialist with the Park service for many years and supervised many restoration projects with in the Nat'l Seashore. I see it now, my father saw it then. Sweet Capt. Ernie Foster.... bless you. I hope all of you can watch this video. I think it will open some eyes that are otherwise blinded by the beauty of the great barrier islands we call home. It's weird to think that maybe our hometown won't exist one day. It's hard to imagine. It's devastating to watch. As I scour the internet for a retirement home for us I am reminded on almost ever home I click on that ......this area is in a "flood zone" Again never thinking about it when we were growing up, now it's a challenge to find a home in the place we love that our kids and grand kids can enjoy for a very long time. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that our retirement home will one day not be there. All I can say is, God bless the Outer Banks and we are coming back regardless of what happens. Just goes to show... You can take a girl out of the Outer Banks but you can't take the Outer Banks out of a girl. It's in my blood, in my soul and in my dreams. I hope all of you living on the beach take the time to appreciate where you live. Stop and smell the ocean from time to time, take it all in. There is no other place in the world like the OBX!


Carol Dawson
Carol Dawson

I spent an afternoon with the writer of this article in Buxton about a month ago. I told her that I would agree to speak to her regarding an article about Hatteras Island only if she would tell the side of the story about the erosion of Hatteras island beaches that no writer has yet to write about. She promised me this article would include the true story of how the erosion started on Hatteras island after the NPS came here and took the property from the natives, bull dozed the small dunes that the CCC's had built into one large dune, destroying the grasses and all that loose sand is what started the bad erosion of our beaches. The only critical point I made was the NPS announced in 1973 that they had abandoned any form of trying to slow down or stop beach erosion, they had adopted Orrin Pilkey's insanity theory of " allowing nature to take its course". Huge problems with that theory but the biggest problem is that it did not apply to everything or everyone. Constant dredging of Oregon inlet has caused most of the severe erosion for the beaches of Hatteras island. It has been 41 years since one grain of sand has been replaced along our beaches. You cannot find another coastal town that brings in the tax revenue that this island adds to the state of NC anywhere along the Eastern seaboard that even comes close to not receiving any beach nourishment in the past 41 years! It is gross negligence at best to not even try the many measures available today to try and slow down or stop beach erosion. NCDOT still moves sand around by dump trucks! This is 2014, there are many measures available but sitting back with our hands tied behind our backs allowing nature to punch us in the face over and over without any form of trying to prevent it is just plain insanity! In my opinion! We have had four major hurricanes hit this area, four " Katrina like" hurricanes without one grain of sand being replaced! We need help here, and quickly, but write about the whole story, Pilkey has had his 15 minutes of fame, his theory is the reason our coastline looks like the disaster it is. I agree with Dr. Riggs that things need to change, our island is in trouble, hopefully dunes will come down and bridges built to allow Hatteras island to heal itself. But what hasn't worked is Pilkey's theory of allowing nature to take its course. 41 years without any sand replaced, it is a miracle that we are still here! Birthplace of America, awesome area that needs to be treated like every other area along the Eastern seaboard !

Brett Barley
Brett Barley

Really isn't fair to say the OBX is disappearing as we speak…. What would NJ or NY look like right now if they hadn't done nourishment after Sandy? Or what would any coastal cities look like if they hadn't had nourishment… well, ever?


Cape Hatteras received beach nourishment in Buxton in '71 and that's it. I love how we can't catch a break with the media, because they love to compare our malnourished beaches with all the other semi well nourished beaches across the coast.

Matthew Busselberg
Matthew Busselberg

I think that Jeffrey S. brought up a good point in his most recent analogy. I don't necessarily buy into global warming but climate change is real and the changes here are apparent and should not be ignored.  The cause doesn't really matter.  This is about what is happening now. It doesn't matter if the changes are man made or not.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.  


(Skip to the last paragraph if you are tired of the global warming debate or agree that it is completely irrelevant... this next paragraph is just my take on that particular issue... )

FYI I used to buy into the "Global warming" mantra.  But the prophesies of doom keep turning out to be false.  I have realized recently that one basic problem with some of those prophecies is that they seem to either ignore or forget one basic tenant of the oxygen cycle:  Nearly all the oxygen in our atmosphere came from carbon dioxide.  At one point in Earth's past their was up to OVER FIVE HUNDRED TIMES the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as there is today (and almost NO oxygen) and we still didn't suffer a run-away greenhouse effect (though it is a safe bet that things WERE warmer).  Life still flourished (albeit in warmer conditions).  Blue green algae (specifically Cyanobacteria) and eventually plants converted all that CO2 to O2.  Nowadays we have over 500 times as much oxygen as we do carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Yet even if runaway global warming will not occur, climate change is a fact of Earth Science.  Coastlines have changed throughout geologic history; sometimes drastically.  And right now, if those changes seem to be slowly burying real estate in the Outer Banks, then we shouldn't ignore them.  Remember… this really isn't a debate about WHY.  In the end…only the foolish man is secure in his house built upon sand.

Daniel Jenkins
Daniel Jenkins

Many if not most of the individuals who own oceanfront and oceanview homes in the OBX are probably well-off and abscribe to conservative ideologies--including the denial of "climate change." How ironic they are now reaping the whirlwind!

Noorah Ahmed
Noorah Ahmed

It's all because of the global warming that was caused by humans' irresponsible actions and greed. If humans are not serious enough to stop the global warming and do some serious actions, things will just get worse.

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

Logistical thinking regarding, "Global warming";

For sake of argument let's call this a, "Lump" found. The debate is, "is this lump cancerous or relatively benign."

So, it could be ignored, (not a good idea), it could be biopsied,(which has essentially be done with various opinions on the results), and then you can either ignore it, (generally not a good idea, because even a benign tumor can be life threatening as well), or operate to remove it, OBVIOUS CHOICE in this case.

Bill Price
Bill Price

Sea Level Rise or Fall ?
 I see a lot of comments from people that think Government should make public policy that will force local farmers, fishermen, and retired folks to lose there homes based on unsubstantiated theory?
    Does that concern you?
The NC Coastal Resources Commission  Science Panel said the rise of Sea Level has been 15"/100 y,  and AGW would force  rise to 39" or more by 2100. ,,,,,, but then data from the Div of Coastal Management shows that, while we do have Beach Erosion in  some areas from storms , since 1980, Accretion is increasing while Erosion is decreasing; and then,  NOAA funded Flood Mapping shows BFE  ( Base Flood Elevations) has been FALLING significantly for areas of  the NC Coast. (Interestingly, the areas the Science Panel said had the greatest Rise of Sea Level, have the greatest Fall of Sea level in the actual data.) On top of all that, International Temperature Records have not increased for over 15 years, and Time.com reports near record  88% Great Lakes freeze over past winter.  

I had understood that Sea Level has been rising ( very slowly ) since the last glaciation, but this sure is all mixed UP.

How can we trust Scientific Foresight when real world data doesn't support Scientific Hindsight?
 
Bill Price  USLandAlliance.US 

PS: To be fair, the CRC Science Panel did admit they didn't do any real world research,,,, they only quoted the theoretical hypothetical opinions of all the esteemed Peer Experts from the EPA, , The Sierra Club, and the UN.
Discouragingly, in Feb 2011 we asked the SP if they had or would compare current coastal maps with 1850's US Coast Survey Charts to see if inundation of tidelands due to nearly 2 feet of SLR they say has occurred, has occurred. No response so far.

PPS:  I wonder why NatGeo did not use any pix where Accretion has been increasing?. 

S Hill
S Hill

Ecotheological Nihlism is popular most among those who seek govt grants to fund their "research." The neoMalthusian alarmists make money off this hyperbole that is questionable science, at best. There are PLENTY of Phd scientists who question the coming DOOM that supposedly faces us. How about the COMING ICE AGE that was predicted in the 1970s? Read this book for insight :

"Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong b"Robert Bryce 

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

Just one report after another after another dealing with the changes that  "Global warming" is bringing to the World, not just the US.Yet there are still those who claim governmental conspiracy. That somehow it is all a sham.

To those who do not yet see the writing on the wall, what do you have to be hit in the head with a brick to open your eyes.

What we are experiencing now is just the prelude as to what is to come if we do not start taking this seriously and get to dealing with it in earnest.

The way it seems to be going now by the time we wake up and smell the coffee, we will either be living in a desert, or underwater, or in a sauna,with little drinking water, famine abounding, and stuck in our environmental suits, leaving it to our children to tell theirs how we screwed up and were so arrogant as to believe, "We didn't do it".

Every day that goes by, it just keeps getting worse, TIME TO WAKE UP!

Ivaylo Badinov
Ivaylo Badinov

Sea levels rise 5 inch in 100 years. In the article you cite predictions of one single person, not real measurements! This is not science, this is scam. You also mix weather and climate. These are completely unrelated things. You can have similar weather at Mars and Jupiter while the climate on these planets is completely different. You see different weather on the same planet in a period of minutes and a static climate. Mixing both is pseudoscience!


Yes islands and shores sink but not because sea level rises, but simply because tectonic movements. Rains wash the land and the waves take away the sand. 


The Moon tides rise the sea thousands times more than melting ice, which in fact are increasing!!

R Smoak
R Smoak

I live 30 miles from the ocean in southern South Carolina and this problem is not unique to the Outer Banks or North Carolina.  Folly Island, near where I live, experiences rapid erosion due to the emplacement of jetties to keep the harbor deep enough for cargo ship travel and is constantly renourished on the dime of county taxpayers, some of which don't even live on the island that they pay to keep in existence.  Within a few years, all of the dredged sand is removed and the erosion problem starts right where it left off.  THIS IS A BATTLE THAT CANNOT BE WON.  I understand the sadness and feeling of loss that people like the family sitting on the steps of what was once their summer home, but cannot help but wonder how sound they thought the investment could be.

wang sv
wang sv

你们过得也太苦逼了吧,来中国吧,挤挤盛的下!

J. Hadfield
J. Hadfield

According to a survey conducted in June by the contracting company that completed the Nags Head project, 97 percent of the sand from the project still remains. "

Is the missing 3% from the stretch in front of the 7 or so houses shown in the picture from June 2014?

Not sure how confident we should be in a number delivered by a company who is in the business of beach nourishment.



Robert Sellers
Robert Sellers

I came into this world 87 years ago within earshot of the pounding surf on the beaches of "The South Brunswick Islands in SE NC".  That's next door to Myrtle Beach, SC. Other than erosion by hurricanes and natural erosion of inlets from NE to SW, there has been no rise in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in our area. There is natural movement of sands as the elements and river flow  ware away the mainland from the mountains to the sea. Anyone of any educational accomplishments at all knows of the alluvial wash areas at the mouths of rivers; alluviums called deltas as in the Mississippi River Delta.


Other than time in the military, working overseas for several years, I have lived within earshot of the pounding surf on the beaches during rough weather. I know when the fake environmentalist try to scare the public so they can garner more tax $$$ for their livelihood. That's the way they make their living.  


I fish, crab, oyster, clam and swim in the same areas as I did as a kid, and mostly, the shore line is the same with no noticeable change. My friends who do river fishing for their livelihood tell me the same.    

Toby Cox
Toby Cox

The saddest part about all of the global warming, and erosion, is that nothing will ever be done until it's too late, no one wants to hear about it when it can be fixed or changed, then when it's too late, those same people will say we should have been told about this earlier when we could still do something about it. I just hate that these coastal areas are being devastated by people not caring when they should have.

Daniel Lowe
Daniel Lowe

This is not an imaginary problem.  I spent a week in a beach house in June 1988, that house is gone now, taken by the Ocean.


There's a cemetery at Salvo Day area that I photographed in my film "Night Motion Timelapse: Outer Banks".. After Hurricane Irene, I seriously doubt that the cemetery is still there.


NCGA can stick its head in the sand all it likes (we increasingly have a legislature corrupted by ALEC influence), but that won't stop the Ocean from taking the Islands.

stacey bartkowski
stacey bartkowski

Living Shoreline Solutions, is a company that stops beach erosion and rebuilds beaches naturally.  Its a portable/movable barrier reefs system that protects homes. Saw it used in mexico and jamaica and the middle east.  Invite them to have a look.  Better than losing your house.

windy champlin
windy champlin

@Brett Barley The Outer Banks is a totally different thing from NY or NJ. We're just a bunch of sandbars along the coast. The first lighthouse in Hatteras went into the ocean years ago and they moved the second one. Why do you think that was?


Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Matthew Busselberg  Although I would take exception to a couple of points you make, (completely irrelevant?), I do respect thoughtful consideration and opinions expressed by those, (like yourself), who have obviously taken the time to educate themselves. You have given me something to think about and do some more research.

Speaking directly to the article, I concur with you, why would someone build a house that is directly in the line of nature's fire. The area in which this article speaks to is dead center of, "Hurricane alley" and has been so for as long as I can remember, yet people keep rebuilding with a target on their homes. The fact of the matter is that this occurs all up and down the East coast. It serves as a good metaphor to many's attitude towards, "Global warming", that is, ignore the warning signs and to my mind there are many.

Be Well

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Robert Sellers  Mr. Sellers, no disrespect to you. Anyone who lives to be your age is wise, (G-d bless you).

The fact of the matter is we do have a problem with, "Global warming" and the climate and eco. changes it is apparently bringing. We really should be taking a much more proactive approach to dealing with it.

Truly, may you have many years of a Good life yet to come.

Respectfully, Jeff

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Robert Sellers  Why are ice caps and glaciers melting around the world?

Why is the Western US experiencing the worst drought on record?

Why are Ocean temps. rising?

By the way, the effects of volcanic ash in the atmosphere is to cool not to warm as it blocks the suns rays, not allow them through, which the deteriorated ozone does.CO2 also allows the UV through which is short wave radiation,problem is the heat that would normally dissipate back out,long wave radiation, is trapped by the CO2. This is scientific fact and Physical truth.

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Bill Price  People should be free to live where they want, even if it is a flood zone or in a drought zone or next to the oceanfront. By the same token they should not look to taxpayer money to bail them out when disaster strikes.

Speaking of rising and falling sea levels, just Google it and one will see the preponderance of evidence and research that backs it up.

"Global warming" , leads to climate change, that's not to say we are all going to be in the roaster. What it does say is that storms will be stronger, draughts will be more severe, geography will change, the ecosystem will change and the more greenhouse gases we continue to pump into the atmosphere the worse it will become.

This isn't a new issue, I can remember the first public rumblings of this back in the early to mid sixty's and the problems predicted then, as stated above, are undeniable facts today.

I have lived in the Northeast, (NY, PA,NJ) my entire life and I do not need anyone to tell me something is going on with our climate, I just have to look out my back door. Tornadoes, icestorms, Sandy, and as of late fierce Thunderstorms on a regular basis, all unprecedented in my life time.

But then again it could just be my imagination.


Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@S Hill  So what you are saying is that there is a "Global conspiracy" going on?

A majority of the Worlds experts and scientist agree that Global warming is a very real issue and this time around man-made.

What about the drastic changes going on, just for an example, which just happens to tie in with ocean levels rising, like the ice caps melting all over?

Part of the conspiracy?


Megan Morris
Megan Morris

@Ivaylo Badinov Actually Antarctica in particular is doing both. It's behaving rather like these barrier islands are supposed to. One side is melting from underneath due to warming ocean water, while the other is gaining more ice.

david zavetsky
david zavetsky

@Toby Cox Are you willing to give up your car, your home heating and hot showers, your modern clothes, your electronic toys?   Man's footprint when we came to this earth was minimal. Learning how to make fire changed all that.  Look at the outer banks 200 years ago and look at them now.....the area has been ruined to a great degree by over development..."gotta go with progress!"  "Gotta make room so EVERYONE can enjoy it!"   Yeah -- now we are wondering what will be left to enjoy.  Global warming is not something that started 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 or 500 years ago....it is a process that man has very little effect on in the grander scale of things.  Oh sure -- we can make this earth miserable for US to live on...we could wipe out every single creature with our bombs and chemicals and such. But....  Mother nature recycles herself.  We had an ice age -- that was a recycling. What was to blame THEN? The dinosaurs didnt have cars or burn gasoline.  LOL.  It's mother nature and her ever changing ways. Period. Man will not -- can not -- stop it...bestwe can do is try and slow it down (unlikely) or adapt to it.  Mother earth doesn't need the human being to survive. Nor do the shorelines care about that row of million dollar tenement houses that developers rely on to make their monthly Ferrari payment. Anyone who has ever built a sand castle on the beach should understand the concept of what is happening. Yet people keep building on the water's edge expecting it to be that way forever.


david zavetsky
david zavetsky

@stacey bartkowski It amazes me how we as humans, insignificant creatures relative to the grand design of things, really, insist we can stop mother nature or make her adapt to us.  The shores were moving and reforming eons before people tried to stake their claim on them. No one owns the land. To pretend that we as humans have any effect on mother earth other than temporary ones is naive.  I used to visit the Corolla area decades ago when there was nothing but shoreline and scrub.  Now its tightly packed rows of million dollar tenement houses for rent. Nags head used to be a quaint town on a two lane blacktop. Now its malls, fast food and a highway. "PROGRESS".  SIC.  Maybe this is mother nature's way of punishing us for abusing her natural beauty.

Joel Vincent
Joel Vincent

@stacey bartkowski 

Living shorelines aren't going to stop the water from rising, however it's a great idea for predicted low impact areas.  Oh, and the Corps Of Engineers has active living shoreline projects all over the coastline.

Robert Sellers
Robert Sellers

@Jeffrey S.  The canopy of dust/ash can, for a short time, also act as a covering to hold in the heat as stated. Climate changes and the melting of glaciers and deserts moving over wet lands, etc.,  have been going on since the beginning. I don't believe man, in his insignificance, is strong enough to change that. 

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Robert Sellers @Jeffrey S.  As you state, climate change has happened before and will happen again. In the past scientists have been able to identify the natural order that has brought on these changes, e.g. volcanic activity, asteroid hits.

This time around no natural order can be identified and the greenhouse gases that man has been pumping into the atmosphere since the Industrial revolution, (Billions and billions of tons), is the prime suspect and the physics backs it up.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree and I'll leave it at that.

Be Well Mr. Sellers, no doubt you have much wisdom about life to pass along.Again with the utmost Respect, Jeff

Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey S.

@Tyler Belcher @Jeffrey S. @S Hill  Hey Tyler. You look like a relatively young buck, this is your future we are talking about.

The science is clear, now it's a matter of changing minds. You'll never change the mind of fellows like Mr. Hill, but what about the minds he sways, (mostly the uneducated on the subject). One mind changed from Mr. Hill's and alike point of view and that is one step closer to getting something done.

Also,  it just annoys the heck out of me. Many of the naysayers speak of a $ driven government conspiracy.What about the oil companies and power companies and Auto companies,they are the ones who stand to lose their ludicrous profits should we ever get around to addressing the issue of Global warming and the greenhouse gases, which are changing our environment as we speak.

Be Well

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