Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Yorktown ((9/27/2015)

The concept of global warming has been in the news the past week.  It started with the Papal visit to the east coast and when I posted a few pictures of the yacht club on my Facebook account, one of the first questions from one of my friends on the west coast was: "Global warming? "  At the same time a very conservative Facebook acquaintance posted something about the Pope being the Antichrist because of his opinion on the environment, evolution and homosexuality.  Boy it sure has been an amazing couple of days.  It is nothing I am going to solve in this blog, but it is also not something I wish to ignore.

Arriving at the yacht club around high tide Sunday morning it was evident that there was a coastal flooding issue. 
The water had retreated a little, but not enough for me to get on the finger pier and on the boat.

Blame a high pressure system over Maine and a coastal low off North Carolina, and there we had a stiff (20 to 30 mile per hour) easterly wind for the past couple of days.  Wind like that will pile the water up into the Chesapeake Bay.  With high tide it will push it in and even with low tide it will really not let the water out.  (This is a great website that shows you a comparison between the expected astronomic tide and the observed tide in the Chesapeake Bay, I assume there are other websites that do this for other places as well).  Thus with each successive tide water gets higher and higher.  Resulting in coastal flooding.  Yes, sea level rise increases the effect and we all know what causes sea level rise.  Or do we really?

High tide in the York River on Saturday
While you can't see it on this picture, the tide was still rushing in under the Coleman bridge at Yorktown.

We here on the east coast in particular in the Chesapeake Bay area are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to sea level rise, at least I am told.  We live in a subsidence area.  During the last ice age, our area was pushed up.  We were not covered by ice, but the oceans had retreated.  This made the land lighter, and with the ice pushing on the land further to the north, our land was pushed up.  Our countryside is currently sinking, making any sea level rise more pronounced.  On top of that we were pushed up by a meteor impact that fell in the lower part of the Bay and we live on the rim of the crater.  This rim is sinking as well.  Finally, out in the ocean, the Gulf Stream makes a bend towards Europe right near us, and that bend will push water our way as well.  So this is why they predict a larger sea level rise in our area while elsewhere on the east coast it likely to be less.

Seaside goldenrod swaying in the 20+ mph breeze at the beach

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