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Could Galveston Island eventually be underwater?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Could part of Galveston Island be under water within the next 10 years? What about other cities along the Texas coast? A new study is out and that's what it is predicting, unless something is done now.

Galveston Island is known for its natural beauty -- water, wildlife, beaches. But a recent study suggests all this could soon disappear due to erosion.

The non-profit group Climate Central released a study saying 18 Texas cities and towns, including Galveston, will eventually be at least 25 percent below sea level.

"This is not a prediction," explained oceanographer John Anderson. "It's actually something that's happening even as we speak. The rate of rise has increased."

Rice University Professor Dr. John Anderson wasn't involved in the study, but he's been tracking sea levels on the island for years.

He said, "The rate of erosion has been about 500 feet since the seawall was constructed. That works out to an average of about five to six feet per year."

But other scientists say the erosion is much slower.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said, "We're talking perhaps about two or three feet over the next hundred years is the best guess. So, eventually, much of Galveston Island will be under water, but it's going to be people who follow us who will have to deal with that issue."

Still, it seems most everybody agrees the island should be prepared for ecological changes.

"There's certainly no need for people to start retreating from the present seashore," Nielsen-Gammon said. "It would be nice to have the long term strategy in place for coastal management."

Find Pooja on Facebook at PoojaLodhia-Reporter or on Twitter at @impoojalodhia

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