Sunday, March 10, 2013

Climate Change Portends Loss of Historic Jamestown

The national press has picked up the Richmond Times-Dispatch piece by Rex Springston that warns of the potentially catastrophic effects of ocean level rise and climate change for Historic Jamestown. We had previously posted similar warnings earlier: on September 19, 2010 (“What’s Jamestown’s Future?”) and June 24, 2102 (“A Major Climate Threat to Historic Jamestown’s Future”), which included links to an article in USA Today, then reporting on research by the Natural Resource Defense Council and Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.

Based on interviews with scientists interpreting the latest climate change data and officials from the National Park Service, Preservation Virginia and local groups, Springston says, "For thousands of years, Virginia’s coastal waters went up about a foot a century — partly because of a natural rise in global sea level and partly because the state’s coastal lands are sinking, scientists say.

"But at least partly because of global warming, waters are rising now at about a 2-feet-a-century clip — double the historical rate — and experts expect the rate to increase even more in the coming decades.

"If scientists’ projections hold, sea levels in southeastern Virginia — and the water level around Jamestown Island — would go up about 2 feet by 2050 and about 5 feet by 2100."

As our nation's most important archaeological site, where evidence of our national origins are daily being discovered, we are facing a disaster of immense historical proportions if no or late action is taken to protect it.

The National Park Service and Preservation Virginia reportedly are beginning to investigate ways to mitigate the prospect of devastation of Historic Jamestown.

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