Dr. Norbert Psuty, Director  



The Effects of Climate Change
and Sea Level Rise on the Coast

One of our projects this summer was to create a display for the visitors' centers of the Gateway National Recreation Area units. We used our data on sea level rise and sediment budgets to illustrate how Gateway is already being affected by the consequences of an increase global temperature.

Look for the new display in the visitor centers at Gateway in 2012!

Lindsay Modugno & Andrea Spahn with the Jamaica Bay Climate Change display at the State of the Bay - Jamaica Bay Symposium at Brooklyn College in October 2011.
[Photo by John Warren, NPS]
State if the Bay

Sources for climate change information:

Climate Change at Gateway NRA

NPS: Climate Change Response

NPS: Climate Friendly Parks - Gateway NRA Plan

NASA: Global Climate Change

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

US EPA: Climate Change

Click here to see where sea-levels are rising around the world.
Or, c
heck out the impacts of sea-level rise on the east coast.
Then, find out what you can do.

Climate Change Background Information

The rapid increase of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere is directly related to the increases in global temperature.
greenhouse effect

Major Sources of GHG's from Human Activities

  • Electricity - most of the energy for electricity is obtained by the burning of coal - a pollution-heavy, non-renewable resource.
  • Transportation - airplanes, trucks, cars, boats...
  • Industry - factories
  • Agriculture - many large-scale agricultural practices (livestock, rice paddies, fertilizers) release methane (a dangerous GHG) into the atmosphere

One aspect of an increasing global temperature that will cause some serious issues over the next century is sea-level rise.

Factors of climate change that contribute to sea level rise:

  1. Thermal expansion: a warming ocean causes the volume of seawater to increase (as a rule, the volume of matter tends to increase as its temperature increases)
  2. Melting ice sheets (Greenland, Antarctica) and glaciers
Unrelated to climate change but increasing the impact of it is subsidence; the sinking of land from the settlement of sediments. Subsidence explains why some areas experience a greater rise in sea-level than others.

Rutgers Logo
Last Updated: 7 January 2015
Original pages by Lindsay Modugno, Jeff Pace, and Dan Lidor.