Global warming: Louisiana’s coastline is disappearing so fast maps can’t keep up

Climate change is not just a futuristic projection: it is now imprinting territories and different ways of life across the planet.

The site The Atlantic, for example, reports that it is becoming more and more difficult to map Louisiana, its bayou and its swamps, which are constantly disappearing and evolving at breakneck speed.

The south of this American state which borders the Gulf of Mexico and which is drained by the Mississippi, is indeed dotted with areas between land and water. Gold, “today the islands, coves and bays that once defined the coast of Plaquemine Parish [presqu’île à l’est de la Louisiane] began to merge, writes The Atlantic. And at a hellish pace, according to the local director of the Mississippi Delta Restoration Project led by the National Wildlife Federation, David Muth, interviewed by the American site:

«Every year, this part of the coast loses more than 41 square kilometers earthen.”

A particularly visible loss between 1990 and today, as the following maps perfectly show, (on the left in 1990, on the right nowadays) extracted from the analyzes of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and published by The Atlantic:

And again, not sure that the map supposed to reflect the current situation above accurately illustrates the erosion of Louisiana. Quite simply because the phenomenon is far too fast, as David Muth points out again:

“Sometimes you navigate [en Louisiane], the water will be almost a meter deep, and the GPS tells you that you are on land. Official maps try to keep track of the situation, but land is disappearing so fast in some parts of the coast that no one can keep up. There are certain bits of territory there which are retreating by 6, 9, 12 meters per year.

An upheaval which is also likely to affect our cultural heritage, alert some researchers in a study relayed by the Guardian:

«[…] The Statue of Liberty, the Tower of London and the Sydney Opera House will be lost due to sea level rise caused by climate change.”

Published at the beginning of February in the newspaper Environmental Research Lettersthis report explains thate «yes her current average temperature level is maintained for the next two millennia, nearly 6% (40 sites) of Unesco will be affected”. A figure that climbs to 19%, or 1 site in 5 likely to be affected (for a total of 136), in the event of a warming of the average temperature, warn the scientists.

Venice, the tower of Pisa, Naples but also Saint Petersburg or Bruges also risk suffering the full brunt of the consequences of global warming, they continue. An impact all the more amplified as the study does not take into account the effects of the storms which will accompany this evolution of the climate, as the researchers themselves recognize, who have voluntarily sought to adopt a cultural point of view in their analysis. .

According to them, this adds a “extra dimension” to the climate debate. But the head of the project, interviewed by the Guardian, does not expect this approach to “change the skeptics”.

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