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Texas: Rising Sea Levels Swallowing Galveston Faster Than Thought

Jan 7, 2013
(Houston Chronicle)

Rising sea levels are likely to cover the coastal highway on the unprotected west end of Galveston sooner than previously predicted.

A 2007 study underwritten by the city of Galveston that anticipated rising sea levels would cover the highway within 60 years appears to have been overly optimistic.

The $50,000 geological hazard report was prepared for the city by geologists from the University of Texas, Rice University and Texas A&M University but then shelved. The report based its calculation on historic sea level rise and failed to include climate change. Sea levels are rising much faster than previous estimates that accounted for climate change, according to reports released in December by U.S. government scientists and in November by the World Bank.

"It's higher than the estimates they gave us five years ago," said Jim Lester, president of the Houston Advanced Research Center, whose scientists are experienced in coastal issues.