What's climate change ruining today?

In Virginia, rising sea levels are threatening Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge's ability to provide free parking near the beach for the summer tourists who provide a major source of income in the region. Here's a hell of a quote: "Zones that used to be parking areas in the 1990s are now underwater." Also threatened: The beach itself. Read more Daily Climate. (Via Brendon Slotterback)


  1. This is very unlikely to be caused by man-made climate change. These are basically sand bars that are getting washed away, not submerged by rising oceans. And even if they were  not piles of sand, there are dozens of islands off of Greece for example that were once inhabited and now are totally submerged, which took place thousands of years before the industrial revolution. I’m not a denier, but we need to stick to the real science or the deniers will beat us over the head with it.

    1. You likely mean you can’t prove this particular parking lot situation was changed by man-made climate change, but it is entirely possible that is was caused by it.  Rising sea levels make it more likely for the barrier islands to be washed away.  It is very likely that rising sea levels are due to anthropogenic causes.

      1. I agree with Mitchell. This article is specifically about parking lots that get artificially build up by people, and then storms hit and wash them away, and the lots get built somewhere else. The original build-up places then remain underwater.

        While climate change may be loading the dice in favor of more storms, suggesting that sea levels have risen enough that parking lots are now below the rise of the water seems false, and is the sort of claim that makes deniers giddy while they refute it because it makes the science look bad.

  2. Whaddaya know, a bunch of people are “skeptical” about the report — without even having taken the time to read it.

    Barrier islands are naturally unstable, constantly changing shape under the forces of waves and wind. When storms flood the east, or ocean, side of Assateague, they wash sand over to the west side of the island and build it up. But as sea levels rise, floods are becoming more frequent and severe. The Fish and Wildlife Service projects that by 2100 rising seas will flood large sections of the Chincoteague refuge’s coastal marshes.

    So yes, barrier islands are naturally unstable — as all the “skeptics” are pointing out.  But (measured) sea level rise makes them even more unstable.  This important context is available to anyone who would bother to RTFA.

    1.  And if it was a questions of sand just moving around, they could just put new parking lots down on the new barrier islands being formed.  But loss of islands is greatly outstripping island creation.

  3. Medium-to-long-term, I’d be more concerned about the roads than the beachfront  parking. That place is swampy as hell on a normal basis.

  4. For God’s sake, people! If you drive a decent SUV, ideally an H2 but plenty of others will do, you can easily drive through and park the thing in a good foot, foot and a half of water.  What is the god damn problem here?

  5. How about we pour concrete over the entire sand bar so it never moves again? Yes the beach will be covered over with a foot of concrete, but it’s a small price to pay for a magnificent parking lot.

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