Is The Sea Rising

Many of the world's great cities are very close to sea level and close to a coast or beside a tidal river. Baltimore, Maryland, is 13 feet (4 m) above sea level, for example, Charleston, South Carolina, is at 10 feet (3 m), and New Orleans, Louisiana, is a mere 6.5 feet (2 m) above sea level. London, England, is only 16 feet (5 m) above sea level, and Marseilles, France, 13 feet (4 m). The reason is obvious. Until railroad networks provided the means to move goods and people efficiently over long distances, the cheapest and most convenient way to travel was by water. Cities grew up in places that were easily accessible, beside navigable rivers or natural harbors.

If the sea level should rise by a large amount, many of these cities would be inundated. The economic and human consequences would be catastrophic. Some people fear that if the global climate grows warmer this is precisely what may happen. The evidence of what has happened in the past and the best scientific estimates of what may happen in the future suggest that the fears have been overstated.

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