[Helobubbas] FW: Could Climate Change Force Naval Academy To Relocate?

Michael G. Brattland retiredreunionmgr at navalhelicopterassn.org
Thu Oct 17 07:41:54 PDT 2019

From: Ford, Thomas R CIV USN CNATRA (USA) <tom.ford at navy.mil> 
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 9:44 AM
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Subject: Could Climate Change Force Naval Academy To Relocate? 
In case you missed this..
Could Climate Change Force Naval Academy To Relocate? Retired Navy Commander
Reviews The Evidence 
Recent climate change models and new evidence of accelerated warming may
have fatal consequences for the Naval Academy in Annapolis. 
Scientists predict that rising sea levels and intense storms will inundate
the land it has occupied since 1845. Lacking action now, climate change
could force the Navy to relocate the Academy by 2100, according to a review
of existing scientific and government reports by retired Navy Cmdr. Pat
Patterson in the October edition of Proceedings, an Annapolis based magazine
published by the U.S. Naval Institute. 
The article appeared just two weeks before floodwaters rose over streets in
downtown Annapolis Saturday, prompting the early closing of the United
States Sailboat show. 
A combination of seasonal high tides, a full moon and a tropical storm
stalled off the eastern seaboard have caused flooding in downtown Annapolis
Saturday, leading city officials to close Spa Creek Bridge and Compromise
Street, among other streets, city officials said. 
By Sunday, flooding had eased on all except Dock Street and the show opened
for normal hours. It continues through Saturday. 
In the Proceedings article, Patterson wrote that the academy is only one of
scores of U.S. military bases that may be swallowed by rising seas. Even
with growing recognition of the problem and a new sense of urgency among
U.S. policymakers, there already are too many greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere to reverse the gradual warming of the planet, he found. 
Patterson is a professor at the National Defense University in Washington,
D.C., a 1989 graduate of the Naval Academy and a former instructor in the
academy History Department. 
His heavily footnoted review, "Climate Change is Coming for Annapolis," is
listed as a "call for action." 
"It could get worse," he wrote. "The West Antarctic Ice Sheet will collapse
into the ocean, raising sea levels by another 10 feet, unless action is
taken soon. In the 2018 USGRP report, federal science agencies warned that
if the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, it will create an additional 20 feet of
sea rise." 
Here's a summary of his article, excerpted with permission from Proceedings.
To read the full article, visit usni.org: 
The Earth already has warmed more than 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since the
Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. According to the "Fourth
National Climate Change" assessment produced by the U.S. government, if
nations continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, the planet may
warm as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. 
Rising temperatures mean polar ice caps, glaciers, and ice fields in
Greenland and Antarctica will continue to melt. This, in turn, will raise
sea levels to dangerous levels. 
In addition, the pace of climate change is accelerating. In 2007, for
example, scientists predicted the Arctic would be free of summer sea ice by
2100. In 2009, they moved it up to 2040. As of December, scientists believe
the Arctic will be free of summer ice by 2030. 
In 2017, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
warned that the chances of sea-level rise from 6 to 9 feet "may be more
likely than previously thought" and recommended revising the worst-case
scenario to more than eight feet by 2100. 
The National Climate Assessment report mirrors evidence by a global alliance
of scientists who have combined forces to address the problem. The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - an intergovernmental body of the
United Nations dedicated to providing an objective, scientific view of
climate change - reported in October 2018 that the world is racing toward a
temperature rise of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit much faster than previously
Flooding along City Dock on Saturday caused several street closures. City
officials said a myriad of factors, including a stalled coastal storm and
high tides, led to flooding. (Courtesy of Elly Tierney, Annapolis Ward 1
On Nov. 23, the U.S. Global Research Program - a federal program mandated by
Congress to facilitate federal agency coordination on issues such as climate
change - published the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which warns of a
large-scale, worldwide environmental disaster. 
Agencies involved in the program, led by NOAA, reported rapidly
deteriorating environmental conditions related to climate change: massive,
uncontrollable forest fires; hyper-powerful hurricanes; devastating
droughts; and suffocating heat waves. The long-term consequences could be
Surrounded by water on three sides, the Naval Academy is especially
vulnerable to sea rise. The Severn River runs along the east, Spa Creek
extends to the south, and College Creek runs along the north. Parts of the
Academy adjacent to the water stand just over 3 feet above the waterline. 38

Sea levels around Annapolis have risen about 1 foot over the past 100 years,
according to information published by the state of Maryland. 
While sea rise in the next few decades depends on a number of factors -
mankind's ability to reduce greenhouse gases, advances in renewable energy
technology, the rate of ice melt in Antarctica - it could rise as much as 8
feet by 2100.6 
The academy and Annapolis already are experiencing the effects of climate
change. Annapolis has seen the highest increased rate of coastal flooding in
the United States. 
In 2018, the downtown area flooded about once a week from high tides,
threatening businesses along the City Dock and Market Street. Next door, the
academy also sees evidence of rising water. Low-lying areas adjacent to
College Creek frequently are closed by high water. 
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that has warned of
the effects of global warming for years, these areas will flood daily rather
than weekly by 2050.8 
In response, the Navy and academy staff have gone on the offensive. In 2015,
they formed the Sea Level Rise Advisory Council to create an adaptation plan
and make decisions about flood-related matters. Currently, academy staff are
installing door dams and flood barriers on doorways, repairing seawalls, and
installing back-flow preventers in storm drain systems to reduce flooding.
Newly constructed buildings, such as Hopper Hall, will have elevated
entrances and limited first-floor openings to keep out rising water. 
The biggest preventive measure the academy will take is improving the
seawall that extends around three-quarters of the yard's perimeter. Academy
leaders plan to strengthen existing portions and construct a two- to
four-foot extension on top of the existing seawall that can be raised as
conditions worsen. Construction will begin in fiscal 2020. 
As seawater also can creep up through saturated soil, the wall will be
buried below the surface. To permit access to sailing vessels and crew
rowing shells, personnel and vehicle entrances will be built into certain
areas along the lower yard perimeter wall. 
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