Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Global Warming and Coastal Areas

Impacts of Global Warming and the Pacific Northwest Coast details the impact of predicted average sea level (20 to 56 inches by 2100) on the Pacific Northwest.

Map of Habitats Affected by Sea Level Rise in Dungeness BayMap of Habitats Affected by Sea Level Rise in Dungeness Bay

The areas most effected 1) tidal flats, ocean and estuarine beaches, 2) salt marshes and transitional salt marshes, 3) brackish marshes and tidal freshwater marshes, 4) tidal swamp, swamp and 5) inland freshwater marshes.

Without bays and estuaries, freshwater marshes and wetlands, we lose the fish, the migratory birds and the ducks that use these areas for breeding. This effect will move right up the food chain to larger mammals, including humans.

View the complete Pacific Northwest Sea Level Rise Report in Adobe Acrobat format.

In a press release dated July 24, 2007, the National Wildlife Federation summarizes what the loss of habitat could mean to the Chinook salmon, which in turn feed the Orca whales.

View the press release:
New Report Details Threat to Puget Sound and Pacific Coastal Habitats - National Wildlife Federation

According to the press release, the impacts will be dramatic:
  • Beaches where rivers meet open water will be inundated and eroded for a 65 percent loss.
  • As much as 44 percent of tidal flat will disappear.
  • 13 percent of inland fresh marsh and 25 percent of tidal fresh marsh will be lost.
Puget Sound, home to salmon, orcas and shorebirds, could become a huge graveyard for these species. Donations to the NWF help, but it costs nothing to take action today!

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