8 months ago


Hazmat Science and

Hazmat Science and Public Policy with George Lane the similar temperatures and carbon levels that existed at that time. Then they learned that the floating ice fields could break up rapidly if air temperatures continue to rise. When they added that scenario into their models, one result for the future was startling: If carbon emissions are not controlled soon, by 2050, the floating ice fields could fall apart, allowing the landbased ice shelves to begin melting quickly. Any rise would be even higher on the Louisiana coast because this area would have an increasingly strong gravitational pull as Antarctica lost all that ice. So if a certain amount of ice melts and raises global sea level by 1 centimeter, in Louisiana, that rise would be 1.2 or 2.5 centimeters. Just another reason why Fig. 1: This bridge in Louisiana fills with up to a foot of mud during storms. (Source: Josh Haner/New York Times May 6, 2016) we in Louisiana have to be really concerned about these sea-level rise figures. And what happens in Louisiana in climate change doesn’t stay in Louisiana. The new research should be a warning for coastal areas because when sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher than they are now, carbon levels were only 280 parts per million; today’s readings already have passed 400. The report has serious implications for Louisiana’s coastal master plan. The plan is based upon the principle that the Mississippi River can provide enough sediment to rebuild and strengthen the sinking coastal basins in the face of rising seas and a sinking land mass. Projections made in 2012 used estimates of 10 to 17 inches of sealevel rise through 2061, projections many scientists said were already too conservative. 5 State officials said the models they’re using in drafting the 2017 update of the plan have tentatively been set from 39 to 70.8 inches of sea level rise through 2100. That already has resulted in the removal of two sediment diversions planned for the lower section of the river in quickly sinking Plaquemines Parish. The higher projection did not alter plans for projects about 30 miles farther north. However, many recent projections show that if greenhouse emissions are not dramatically reduced soon, the rate of sea-level rise will increase dramatically in the last three decades of the century, swamping much of what the state hopes to build by 2061. The benefits of reducing carbon emissions should be clear to Louisiana. This report says if Louisiana is aggressive and committed to the Paris climate change goals, it has a real chance for saving the coast. If not, Louisiana will have the first climate refugees in the world. 6 The only question then is who’s next. References 1. “Isle De Jean Charles Band of Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw Receive National Disaster Competition Award for Resettlement”; HUD and the Rockefeller Foundation, http://www. (For more information on the resettlement project, visit 2. Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson, “Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’”, New York Times, May 6, 2016 3. “What a 6-foot sea level rise would look like”, Figure 2, Source: Dan Swenson, Baton Rouge Advocate, May 6, 2016 4. Robert M. DeConto and David Pollard, 32

Fig. 2: Source: Dan Swenson, Baton Rouge Advocate May 6, 2016 “Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise”, Nature, Volume 531, Issue 7596, pgs 591–597, March 31, 2016 5. United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security, http://ehs.unu. edu/ 6. “This bridge in Louisiana fills with up to a foot of mud during storms”, Figure 1, Source: Josh Haner, New York Times May 6, 2016 George Lane has 25 years of experience in the development of chemical security systems, conducting research as a NASA Fellow at the Stennis Space Center and as a NSF Fellow. Lane was air quality SME for the University of California at Berkeley Center for Catastrophic Risk Management during the BP Oil Spill. Lane is currently chemical security SME for the Naval Postgraduate School Maritime Interdiction Operations in the Center for Network Innovation and Experimentation. 33