Global warming picture pairs, coastal erosion.

Take a look at this global warming pictorial from the BBC.  Not just pictures of disappearing glaciers, but some interesting coastal erosion pictures as well.  Coastal erosion is aggravated by increasingly frequent severe storms and the slight rise (so far) in sea levels.

Just as we cannot attribute any particular storm to global warming (and there is still some argument about the trend), it is also impossible to attribute any instance of coastal erosion, such as the one above, to global warming. 

Coastal erosion has been going on throughout history, as have intense storms, droughts, and heatwaves.  The trends of all these things, along with atmospheric CO2 levels well above any that have ever been seen, together form a preponderance of evidence in support of climate change.

As an investment manager, I make my living by acting when the evidence is sufficient, not by waiting until all the evidence is in.  That doesn’t mean new evidence won’t make me change my mind later, but the whole point is to take action before other investors decide to act.  In the case of global warming, I feel we (as a planet) have already waited longer than we should before taking meaningful, large-scale action. 

As a mathematician who studied chaos theory, I know that a small difference in initial conditions, such as an 8 inch rise in sea levels, can cause a completely different outcome (a coast being unharmed, or completely washed away.)

I’ve greatly modified this post in response to a conversation with Lars Smith, see the comments below, and his post in his Conservation Finance Blog.

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13 Comments

  1. Lars Smith said

    I don’t think the sea has risen that much, I think the picture shows coastal erosion.

     TK Response: I think you’re right about this picture.  There’s another in the series that looks like more direct evidence of rising sea levels (which in any case have only risen a few inches so far, so it’s hard to see), but one of the first observable (to the eye) effects of rising sea levels will be coastal erosion, especially when combined with more frequent storms, another effect of global warming.

  2. Lars Smith said

    I wrote a comment here,

    http://conservationfinance.wordpress.com/2006/08/16/photographic-evidence-for-rising-sea-levels/

  3. joe said

    OH COME ON ! … If you look close , you`ll see these 2 pics were taken from completely different camera angles …. Where are the power poles in the 2nd pic … The photographer was standing in the ocean in the 2nd pic and on top of a hill in the 1st …. If this is your best photographic eveidence , then we all safe for a few more centuries.

    • pavingdoug said

      The two pictures are taken from the same angle you can tell just from the windows on the building. I’ve photo shopped them, they are at the same distance and angle but, the difference is the first picture was taken earleir in the day and the other was taken when the tide was comming in. I have seen pictures from the state of Mass that were legit. there was a big difference in the shore line and also a rode that was washed away. This picture is a true hoax.

  4. Tom said

    While this is hardly the best evidence for rising oceans, I believe the different camera angles you refer to are because the later photographer is standing considerably lower down than the first photographer… the place the first photographer was standing has been completely eroded away. Note from the picture that the photographer seems to be standing on the beach, and the wave in the foreground is probably getting his shoes wet.) The poles are hidden by the new shoreline to the right.

  5. scottish lassie said

    you both make good points, however, if you think about it, the second picture was taken at en earlyer part of the day then the first, and yet you see little to no detail to the house, where as in the first one you see a fair deal of detail. this has lead me to belive that the house in the second picture, has eighther been put there through ‘photo shop’ of it was drawn through paint. Besids which the sand did not come out of this air, and even if the water level was that high, then where did the sand come from? water drifts? get real!!!

  6. Tom said

    These pictures are from the BBC. They have been on the BBC website since 2005. Click through to the original article on the BBC website if you have concerns about photoshopping, and address those concerns to them.

    Here is what they say in the caption of the picture we’re all talking about:

    This is a section of shoreline at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina in the USA, pictured in 1999 and 2004. The southern United States and Caribbean region were battered by a series of powerful hurricanes last year [2004].

    Rising sea levels are also expected to speed up coastal erosion.

    Image: Gary Braasch ©

  7. Shelly said

    Ahh i dont know about you but i def. dont think this is caused by global warming!! come on!!! ya i agree with that guy its just erosion why does everything in this earth have to be put in with global warming!!! global warming isnt even happening so forget that idea!!!

  8. Cutiie 3mma said

    I think know matter what erosion and global warming is happening fast and if we don’t stop it nobody will live so everyone better buck up there ideas or maybe your children’s children or even your children won’t live…

  9. Diana said

    I believe that this whole society needs to stop worrieng about small things and focus on these major things which if not stopped later on in the future(if there is a future) will be full of hurricanes and other things as an average day thing. So try and do something for the environment, it wont hurt you and you children or grandchildren will have great benefits out of this great action.

  10. luisa said

    global warming should be taken seriously becuase i dont want to DIE at a young age like 2 years old i want to enjoy my life and live until im 18 when i experience getting drunk

  11. What a crock of nonsense. The first picture looks like it was taken with snow on the ground, and, it is above the cliff where the road is visible. The second picture is taken below the cliff on the beach. Open your eyes and your minds people. It shows absolutely nothing.

    And now that it is 2009, I’m sure that house and beach are still there. The Tuvalu islands are still doing just fine. Now the doom and gloomers are pushing the time frame way into the future, long after all of us are gone.

    This whole thing has been one pathetic joke.

  12. Nicole Paluszek said

    Coastal erosion is a real and serious problem, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged effects of “global warming”. So far not a shred of evidence has been produced for rising sea levels or increased intensity of storms.
    Coastal erosion is 99.9% caused by unsound coastal land development and -management practices such as dune destruction and construction of seawalls, roads, and buildings on or near the shoreline.
    Where these unsound practices have been scrapped and replaced with sound ones, eroded coasts have been seen to regenerate themselves completely to pre-development levels.

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