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Living in Florida being affected by the rise in sea level is a state-wide concern because of our position on the map, three out of four of our sides are surrounded by water, thus explaining the rising concern. Not only is this a state threat, but it also is for most of the country’s coastal regions. The greatest threats to these coastal regions would be flooding; not only does coastal flooding disrupt the natural habitats in those ecosystems it also damages existing infrastructure in most of these metropolitan areas.
Sea level in the last one hundred and twenty years has risen approximately eight inches, this number might seem low but in comparison to how old the earth is this drastic change has happened in very little time (Walsh, et al.
2014). The rise in sea level isn’t even throughout the United States, there are distinct areas where the sea level could be higher due to the movement of the land, meaning if its above sea-level or below (Krishen, et al.
For these coastal states, mainly in the eastern side of the United States the change in sea level has been drastic, between at least 2-8 inches of rise has been recorded by NOAA in 2015, this was measured relative to land elevation. What this means is that the land isn’t keeping up with the rise in sea level, there isn’t enough natural build up of soil to act as a buffer for flooding, and it is projected that by 2100 there will be nearly four feet in rise of sea level (Walsh, et al.2014). Coastal flooding is a major concern to our cities, but more so our ecosystems, the introduction of salt water into freshwater systems through flooding can deplete the necessary resources for the flora in that system, as well as for the species whom inhabit it. Freshwater systems aren’t the only concern, other types of ecosystems as well this type of disturbance puts an immense amount of stress on them which can ultimately decrease diversity which in turn would also decrease heterogeneity.
In the past century society has been able to flourish and create large multifaceted metropolitan cities all throughout the United States. My focus is how the rise in sea level can cause flooding in all the cities that are on mainly the east coast of the country. Flooding is something common for coastal areas, being so close to the sea has that consequence, but with the projected rise in sea level flooding can become much more dangerous and much more permanent. It can ruin a variety of infrastructures causing the country ample amounts of money on repairs, infrastructures are also the base of our most vital resources whether it is our home, workplace, were we acquire our goods or even how we transport; these are all interconnected systems which are vital to our society that could easily be destroyed by a few more inches of water. Moreover, coastal regions also make up 36% of United States population and that is not counting the west coast (US Census 2018). Many people could potentially be affected, they could lose their homes and belongings, be forced to move to other parts of the country if the region they live in is completely flooded, and as seen by sea level predictions maybe even some states in one hundred years or so.
In terms of an ecological disturbances and as per the classification themes discussed in lecture, flooding can be classified as a natural disturbance. It is non-selective, as I have mentioned before flooding can affect a wide-range of ecosystems. Mechanical, it reduces the resources available to the existing species in those ecosystems thus affecting how thy react to this disturbance their capacity to resist (Malone, 2019 Ch.7.Slide 5). It is classified as abiotic; no living organism is causing the flood so it can’t be considered biotic. There is a direct effect between the flooding and how it impacts the ecosystem for many species there can be high mortality rates and things of that sort. As has been discussed and using the theory of disturbance that we accept, a disturbance is a cause and it causes an effect on a system which would be the stress; floods of this sort would have major impacts on ecosystems that cause enormous amounts of stress and the ecosystem is forced to modify itself and if it can’t then it would probably die off. The rise in sea level can be considered both a natural and anthropogenic disturbance. The sea levels rise because of the density of the ocean expanding, due to the ice melting at rapid rates, which is caused by climate change which can be tied back to human impact on Earth. All in all, it is important to be informed about this threat that we are currently encountering, especially for the populations who live on or near coastal regions. We must find out ways to slow down the process and come up with alternatives that will help us in the end. An example of this as discussed in lecture, soil accretion rates should start incrementing, this could aid in the natural build up of land that we need to keep up with the rise in sea levels.
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