High tides, early warning for future sea level rise

| 08/09/2014

(CNS): Unusually high tides causing flooding on Grand Cayman are not believed to be as a result of rising seas, just yet, but experts pointed out that they show just how bad flooding could get in the Cayman Islands if the predicted increases in sea levels over the next few decades are accurate. The Departmentof the Environment said that the recent flooding in various areas of Grand Cayman and in particular in Barkers (left), where the road was virtually impassable on Monday, was down to a number of seasonal and astronomical influences but was caused by a less than four inch rise in tides.

While the exact reason for the surge in tides is not completely understood, experts believe it is a combination of the moon’s position in the sky and other astronomical forces which act on tides. The gradually rising sea levels are not thought to have played a major part in the higher than normal tides which has impacted properties along the northern coasts of Grand Cayman.

The flooding after such a relatively small and temporary increase in tide levels gives us an idea of what we can expect in the next few decades if sea level rises begin to increase more significantly, as most scientists now believe.

“It brings home the potential devastating impacts of sea level rise as estimates suggest these tides are only about 10cms above previous high tides we have experienced,” a spokesperson for the DoE said.

Although there is still a question mark over the actual rate of escalation of sea-level increase, new research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change revealed last month found that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is set to make things far worse than imagined.

In addition, to the huge icebergs plunging into the oceans from the south pole, the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet in the north as well as other glacial melt around the world, the expansion of warming water, and groundwater pumping, which shifts water from aquifers to the seas are all adding to the problem. When the latest projections re Antarctica are combined with other figures, the upper limit for overall sea level rise by the end of this century will be nearly four feet.

The hastening pace of sea level rise threatens to reshape the lives of more than a billion coastal dwellers long before the end of the century, including the people of the Cayman Islands. Just a few inches, which could happen within the next few decades, would be sufficient to cause considerable infrastructure damage in Cayman and other low lying Islands that will require on-going and costly defences, which are unlikely to keep pace with the threat.

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  1. Cause and effect says:

    The serious problem we have is looking to world government for the correct information.

    The issue of Climate Change is worldwide, and because of the dithering, and refusal of acknowledgement by governments that the root cause is the burning of fossil fuels we will not be told the facts needed to correct the problem in time, for to acknowledge this is for them to tacitly say "although we are your governments we are helpless and we have really messed-up". The corporate controlled media goes along with this for the most part…Follow the money. Except in cases where the evidence is so clear and evident.

  2. Anonymous says:

    God is trying to wash away the evil over there….

  3. Anonymous says:

    You heard the lady on Youtube, God is sending signs to us all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The tide is high but im holdin' on

  5. Anonymous says:

    As the ocean rises, one day the only thing left will be the highest point in Cayman.

    The top of Mount Trashmore..

  6. Anonymous says:

    to 21:33


    Dump it on DART front porch!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Here is a perfect example of “News Fabrication”.

    Link global warming toa totally unrelated and perfectly natural event, giving it the appearance of relevance, importance and play on the fear factor to push an otherwise political agenda.

    CNS is a bunch of ideological charlatans… and you all know it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please….  *eye roll*

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong!  There is an obvious lesson to be learned that went right over your head in this article.  Sea levels are rising and this event is a preview of what life with be like EVERY DAY.  How is that difficult to understand?  Just because the cause of this has nothing to do with climate change, the EFFECT is the same. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I complain about CNS's reporting style a lot myself, but I do not see anywhere in this article where they attemped to link this to Global Warming. It sounds more like they were just using this as an example of how Global Warming can effect Cayman.

      Save your complaints for worthwhile issues, this was a well written and informative article. 

      Well Done CNS..

    • anon says:

      A great example of missing the message as the mind is already closed. If this was a natural event and rising sea levels are a natural event do you not think that Cayman should start preparing itself for them? or just yell it's not humans fault as the water is up to waist, so I'm not going to do anything. Hurricanes are natural events, do you not prepare your house if one is coming our way?

  8. Anonyanmous says:

    It's the result of global warming and the over development of Cayman is also another serious problem. There is a need to slow down the pace of development and construction. If we build up every square inch of the island there will be no where for the water to go this is a part of the big problem in Cayman, over development and greed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So if the sea level does rise , would it be prudent to fill in the swamp and bring the level of land higher then the sea? So will the environmentalists at least  now except that  leaving the swamp as is will not help ? So will we leave developers to do the right thing and add fill and increase the height of land before it becomes too expensive? Just a thought.

    • Anonymous says:

      Naysayers will sooner have the whole island underwater before they agree with anything like this. And remember they also do not agree with recovering land that the sea has taken. So when these nature lovers have  a good part of thier own land covered by water they should be more than happy to let thier land go back to nature, without even considering filling it in, becuase this is what they expect of everyone else.


    • Anonymous says:

      I see by the thumbs down that there are a few who disagree with adding more crushed lime stone to elevate properties. But if roads are going to look like this even after I die. Would it be not  wise or cheaper to make properties that are not developed higher when the cost is cheaper?

      Back in the 70's a 8 cu yd truckload was $22 , today a 40 cu yd truckload is $ 800 . If I owned a quarry I will be the person you going to have to beg for fill . Cause you are not going to afford the fill .

    • Anonymous says:

      Wouldn't it be better to build up the bits that are currently above water instead?  I mean, if sea levels rise 1 foot, say, why add several feet to stuff that's *already* below water rather than adding a lot less to the marginal areas to maintain what land area we have now?

  10. Nicholas Robson says:

    For anyone interested in reading a report on Sea Level Rise the Cayman Institute published a report on the subject which is available on their website at <http://www.caymaninstitute.org.ky/pdf/sea_level_rise_report.pdf&gt;

    Nicholas Robson


  11. Anonymous says:

    If barkers floods where are we suppose to dump our stuff?