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Comment: Migrated to Confluence 4.0


    A rise in sea levels is projected to occur due to global warming melting glaciers and ice caps, as well the fact that warm water takes up more space than cold water.  The 2007 IPCC found that "since 1961 the average temperature of the global ocean has increased to depths of at least 3000 m and that the ocean has been absorbing more than 80% of the heat added to the climate system." This warming, as previously stated, has caused seawater to expand and sea levels to rise.  According to the EPA's 1998 paper Climate Change and Maine []$File/me_impct.pdf, sea level is projected to rise by 6-38 inches along Maine's coast by 2100, and this rise in sea level could cause flooding of property along Maine's 3,500 miles of tidally influenced shoreline. It could also cause loss of coastal wetlands, contamination of drinking water, and beach erosion. Currently, the tides are increasing, and Joseph Kelly, a UMaine professor and member of the climate institute claims that the tide guage at Rockport has shown sea levels rising 2 mm a year. Clay cliffs are also eroding and falling into the sea, putting homeowners living there at risk.  This link shows a figure from the Maine Geological Survey on sea level rise in Portland, Maine [
    This predicted rise in sea level would also impact sand dunes and wetland systems that serve to protect the coast and terrestrial systems from the sea. The Maine coast contains many high value, nationally significant marine habitats that could be significantly affected by accelerated sea level rise.  Wetland systems,marshes, and dunes are also important breeding habitat for many species including the endangered Piping Plover, Saltmarsh Sparrow, and Roseate Tern. Accelerated rise in sea levels would inundate coastal marshes and wetlands, especially in areas where they are already constrained by development. In many areas, marshes will disappear or, if not hindered by geography and development, be pushed further inland.
    In 2006, the Natural Resource Council of Maine assessed the potential impacts of climate change on Maine's coast, and identified communities most at-risk from sea level rises Should sea levels rise the projected 2-3 feet in the next century, whole roads such as Route 1 would need to be rerouted and rebuilt.  The impacts on those living in at risk area would be enormous, as well as the impact to the tourist areas along the coast. Tourist towns along the coast could suffer a collapse of the local economy due to their reliance on beach related activities and tourism. Services such as sewer treatment and stormwater drainage could also be affected by sea level change, especially discharge points.