$40 billion of national parks at risk from sea rise

Sea-level rise puts at high risk more than $40 billion in park infrastructure and historic and cultural resources, including almost $90 million in assets at the Canaveral National Seashore, according to a federal report. The report by scientists from the National Park Service and Western Carolina University is based on a study of 40 parks.

“Climate change is visible at national parks across the country, but this report underscores the economic importance of cutting carbon pollution and making public lands more resilient to its dangerous impacts,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, said in a release. “Through sound science and collaboration, we will use this research to help protect some of America’s most iconic places — from the Statue of Liberty to Golden Gate and from the Redwoods to Cape Hatteras — that are at risk from climate change.”

The report examined LiDAR data flown in 2007. LiDAR is akin to radar, measuring elevations with a laser and analyzing the reflected light.

Sea-level rise projects vary by place and time, but scientists expect a 1 meter rise in the next 100-150 years. In some areas of Alaska, however, relative sea-level is decreasing because as land-based glaciers and ice sheets melt, land is rising faster than sea levels, according to the report.

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