Let’s Build a SeawallMay 17, 2009
I read with great surprise and pleasure that ClimateSanity has been added to the blogroll at WattsUpWithThat. Anthony, thank you, it is an honor!
Just to stir the pot a little, here is a simple back of the envelope calculation that may serve as a response to some of the comments at WUWT:
Suppose you felt the need to build a sea wall three meters high and three meters thick to protect the Boston area from the rising sea. Lets say you built it from Lynn in the North to Quincy in the south. These two communities are about 25 kilometers apart in a straight line. But let’s say when you account for the curviness of the coastline its really 100 km. So,this sea wall will be 3 meters high, 3 meters thick, and 100 kilometers long. That means the volume of the sea wall will be 900,000 cubic meters, or about 1,000,000 cubic meters.
Since the ocean is rising quite slowly, we can allow ourselves 100 years to build this sea wall.
The population of the greater Boston area is about 4 million. Let’s assume that the population remains unchanged for the next hundred years (of course, it will probably grow a lot).
Then the volume of seawall that needs to be built per person per year is: 0.0025 cubic meters per person per year. Oh my, how will you every do it?
But if you manage to get it done in 100 years you will be able to look at the accomplishment with pride. And assuming that the sea level keeps rising at its current rate of about 2.5 mm per year, you will know that the 3 meter tall seawall will keep you safe for another 1000 years.