Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
The Rising Sea
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$19.61 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Dramatic increases in sea level are possible in the next 50-100 years. The extent of sea level increase will depend on what nature and we do between now and then to our Earth's atmosphere and oceans. This book clearly summarizes the current changes in sea levels around the world, and what can be expected with anticipated changes in global climate trends. Importantly, the book includes guidelines for coping with forseeable consequences of sea level rise.

Sea levels are on the rise. There's no mistake about it. Imagine, for example, what the coast may look like in 50 years when the seashore is 1000 feet inland from where it is now. All the ocean-front dwellings will need to be moved back from the encroaching sea. And this is for regions that can adapt to changing sea levels. Some island nations will disappear with the rising sea. Miami, Florida, is on the front-line for potential impact by risng sea levels and will need to adapt. All these issues are addressed in this book in a very readable way.

The potential impact on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is dramically portrayed. A number of illustrations of past impacts of storms on these and other regions is reviewed. However, the connection between the recounts of past storm damages and impacts of climate change is somewhat difficult to interpret, expect to imply that future storms may be worse than the awful damage we've seen before. The real soul of the authors lies in recommendations for current shoreline management policies that will preserve their beauty and enjoyment for the public for the forseeable future. Shorelines change and we need to adapt to those changes, not try to prevent them.

There's lots to think about after reading this book. It's very readable and flows well. It would have benefited from additional editing as some parts are redundant and overall connections could be better made. It's a enjoyable book to read while at this beach this summer.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Whether or not you believe "global warming" is due to man's impact, the reality is sea levels are not static. They've risen and fallen forever, and currently are in a rising pattern because the earth is warmer than in the recent past. The rising sea impacts the shoreline in ways that aren't "just" from higher water levels.

This fascinating book describes how the shoreline reacts to a rising sea, and the futility of man's efforts to rebuild beaches, add sea walls, (re)build property, etc.

Anyone residing in a seaside community would benefit from reading this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was an excellent book on sea level rise and its present and potential impact on world coastal environments. Of particular interest is the degree to which different factors affect how, when and to what degree ocean volumes are increased. Certainly the fact that some of these factors will increase linearly while others will do so exponentially is alarming, since the latter appear to be somewhat hidden and therefore less accessible in public discussions of the climate change. The reticence of scientists to interpret the outcome of their discoveries and the desire to obfuscate these findings by vested interests, make clear decision making for the future difficult. Worse yet, it seems to vindicate efforts to delay making any decision at all.

The authors hold both the scientists and the vested interests accountable for this failure to inform the public of pending issues. They pointedly remark that there is already significant field data that support global sea level rise as a world issue and that current efforts to combat it by reinforcing coast lines have already proven expensive, futile, and selective in favor of vested interests rather than those of the public at large or of the private individual facing the danger. As the authors write, "Thousands of tide gauge records, some extending back more than a century, show an expanding ocean. Years of sea level measurements by satellite indicate the same trajectory. Diverse forms of field evidence such as rims of dead trees with drowned roots along coastal lagoons, the ubiquitous thinning by erosion of coastal plain barrier islands, intrusion of salt water into coastal aquifers, and the backing up of drainage and sewage systems of coastal cities all point directly to rising seas in modern times. Furthermore, the astounding retreat of the world's mountain glaciers since the mid-twentieth century and the more recent--and more important--indications of degradation of the world's great ice sheets both point to continuing and likely accelerating sea level rise(p. 81)." A much more telling, and in my oppinion germaine, indicator of sea level rise is the refusal of insurance companies to insure coasal properties at ever increasing risk for damage! So sensitive is the market to loss I suggest that by following this indicator throughout a land mass, one might be able to follow the effects of rising sea level on every community in the land--to heck with scientists, follow the insurance agents.

The sad effect of the human component on the survival of off shore, near shore, reef, and marshland ecosystems is also commented upon by the authors. The complete loss of some species and the effect of this loss on survivors--including ourselves--is discussed, but the effect of major collapses of some of these on the world at large might be far greater than they imply. Everything is connected to everything else in subtle ways that science has only now begun to discover; in fact some of the lynch pins of ecosystems in some environments are dying out even as science discovers and investigates them. Enlightening from the perspective of life and its survival under stress is the book by Hallam, Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities: The Causes of Mass Extinctions, a book best appreciated by those interested in paleontology and what it can tell us. A variety of environmental stressors from the planet's past are discussed, most with a climatic and atmospheric impact. This author discusses how things survived, which types of life forms did and under what conditions. The book makes the interconnections and the balance of nature more apparent; it also makes it obvious that nature will balance the scales eventually but that things will be vary different when she has done so.

Most scary is the fact that there are indicators that suggest that no one will escape the impact of sea level rise, even if we live in an interior region. Migrations of large numbers of individuals fleeing the water's rise will have to be accommodated on what land is still above it, and much of the land lost to the sea--rich alluvium deposited by rivers at their mouths--will also be lost to the agricultural activities so necessary to all of us. What the authors don't discuss is the fact that many of the rivers in the interiors of continents will also respond to sea level changes. Sea level determines the speed with which rivers are able to empty their watersheds of their load, and a rising sea level will therefore much affect this. Rivers will either spread out more widely in their plains, residing there permanently and removing the land from even tempoary agricultural use, or they will erode the surrounding landscape in other ways to accommodate the delay in their emptying, again effecting land use in these regions. It will also determine where disease vectors are able to find havens in areas where they have not heretofore found a nitch. The authors also do not discuss the fact that when water catchments change, they effect the climates of various areas, drying some out, improving some, while drowning out others; all of these have effects on agriculture, on habitablity, and on human health.

That human societies have had various success with dealing with environmental change is noted for our edification by Jarod Diamond in his book on the topic, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition. Some have succeeded by modifying the behavior of their society; others have failed to respond at all and have either disappeared as an entity or have suffered major decline. Brian Fagan's series of books on the effects of climate on society and on human health are also instructive, The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850,The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations,Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations,The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization, etc., as is Stuart's book on the Pueblo societies of the American Southwest Anasazi America: Seventeen Centuries on the Road from Center Place, and Gill's on the Maya of Mexico and Central America The Great Maya Droughts: Water, Life, and Death. All of these books show the types of responses made by societies in the past and the outcomes that arose from them; they provide insight into some of our own behavior and suggest the likely outcomes for us as well. Science and technology can only do so much with respect to nature and society's resources are finite.

Large scale political entities arose essentially to mitigate the uncertainties of life for individuals and the liabilities inherent in different geographical regions; as sea level rises, it will be the effective use of this combined fortune--in the form of tax money and material resources--which will combat the disastrous effects of this occurrence on everyone. As the authors note, however, long term effectiveness and not the temporary salvation or financial gratification of vested interests must be the hallmark of success in these efforts. The authors suggest scrutiny of those interventions suggested--not to mention the underlying motivation of those who make them--and, indeed, an increase in sources for these suggestions be practiced to make certain that resources are used in ways that promote a smooth transition to the new natural world. That sea level rise will occur appears to be without doubt; it's how we respond to it that continues to be at issue.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Dr.Orrin Pilkey ( Coastal geologist) is America's leading critic of US Gov't policies along it's coast lines and one of the world'd leading experts on all things Coastal. This book updates his positions on these issues plus warns all of us that the world's Oceans are rising ( do to Global warming) and the pace is picking up! By 2100 he predicts in this book that they could rise by more then 20 ft., drowning most of the world's low lying regions and Islands and with it America's major coastal cities like NYC and Miami! Dr. Pilkey is a very serious scientist so these predictions and claims are not just speculation there founded on hard science. This book is easy to read and is a must for anyone seriously interested in our Coast lines and Oceans. Some scientific jargon but mostly written for a lay audience. All in all its a good read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is an excellent review of the data, theory, and consequences of sea level rise due to increasing temperature.

I started reading it just before I went to Hilton Head Island for a week at the beach and just after I started writing a web page about sea level versus temperature ([...] I spent more time reading the book than I did walking the beach.

When I did walk the beach, because of reading the book, I had a greater understanding of what the beach might be like a century from now. And the book influenced how I finished writing the web page as much as other sources did.

The book will be of interest to scientists who work in related fields and to citizens who want to be informed about the consequences of rising temperatures. It should be required reading for those who own shore-front property.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Rising sea level, is probably one of the most important challenge humanity will face in the coming century.
Why it is an important issue, especially as sea level has gone up and down constantly over the past million years?
The reason is simple, by 2025, it is projected that 75% of humans will live in coastal areas, ie near the sea.
Today, 11 of the world's 15 largest cities are located on a coast, or river estuary.
What will happen to New York city, Miami, Los Angeles, Tokyo, The Maldives, our infrastructures, private homes built on the coast (to close)?
What will happen to our shores, the near shore system, and its extraordinary biodiversity (the second most important source of life on the planet)?
What will happen to coastal habitat, wetlands, marshes, beaches?
The list of questions, issues, problems, and challenges is endless.
For the above this book has a purpose, help us understand what is going on.
(It is also first one to tackle and discuss this issue in a comprehensive manner.)
The book is inded informative, easy to read, and understand, and stays away from the currently "hot" topic of global warming in an intelligent manner.
Despite being world known scientist the authors are also pragmatic, and ask a very simple question (away from "complicated" science). Have you noticed the sea rising with your naked eyes?
For most of us the answer is yes.
To conclude this book gives us intelligent insights on this "lurking" nightmare, a must read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on April 17, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The bible. It can't be sent to Florida and ....
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I was disappointed, though perhaps I am not the ideal demographic for
this book. It seems to be written either for people who doubt that
sea levels are rising, or for people who like to see people who so
doubt beaten up by experts. I am not in either audience. Myself, I
hoped to see more, much more, about adapting to that rise.

The authors do offer seven feet over the next century as an estimate
of the amount of rise that seems prudent to plan for, but they never
explain where they get that number. The ghost of a much greater rise
runs through these pages. If all the ice melts, as it did in the
Carboniferous, ocean levels would rise by 200 feet, and there seems
to be no very good reason why something much more like that than seven
feet might not happen. The authors keep talking about a "tipping
point," a measure of warming past which ice melting turns auto-
catalytic, spiraling off without waiting for further increases in CO2.
The concept of a tipping point suggests that once this point is passed
that melting will not stop until all the ice is gone, and there is nothing
in this book to contradict that inference. Even if you don't believe
in this "tipping point", it takes no very great sense of fatalism
about the world's politics to think that CO2 levels (which now are at
about 400 ppm) are not likely to plateau out much short of 750 ppm.
Either way we end up at the same place.

The looming sense of a major melt undermines much of text here, very
much including the authors' discussion of policy adaptations. It is
clearly not prudent to plan for a seven foot rise if that rise occurs
as part of a runup to 200', such that we get to seven feet by the end
of the century, but fifteen feet ten years after that, etc. We do
not want to waste resourses on one Maginot line after another. The
author's favorite policy recommendation is moving people inland (as
opposed to sea walls, etc), but it is not obvious that this idea will
scale when the populations involved number in the millions and tens of
millions. I would like to have seen more analysis of the point.
Clearly the politics would be brutal. Almost certainly a considerable
amount of upland real estate would have to be seized by force.

If you believe there is a chance that melting and warming will push
sea levels significantly higher than ten feet, let alone 200', the
only response that seems to work is floating cities. Floating cities
scale with both sea level and population size. They can be handed
over to third- world countries facing inundation, like Bangladesh.
They do not require the confiscation of property. Quite possibly they
can be manufactured at reasonably low costs per square mile. I don't
know. I would have liked to see some analysis on the point.

In a line, the policy thinking in this book was way too timid given
its geochemical and meteorological thinking.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have 2 confessions to make. 1) I'm a huge Orin Pilkey fan. He's a scientist who knows his subject well and is not afraid to speak his mind, even knowing that most people (especially shore dwellers) don't want to hear the truth. 2) I have a huge hang-up about errors/typos in books. Just one little mistake can ruin the whole book for me. That said, I found The Rising Sea very enlightening until I came across a very big boo-boo. South Carolina's former governor Jim Hodges was referred to several times as Jim Hughes. When a fact so easily verified is mis-stated, it causes me to question what other facts are wrong. Honestly, I'm not sure if this book has been reprinted, but hopefully this was corrected if so. I would've given it 5 stars if not for this.

The Rising Sea offers an easy-to-read explanation of how changes in the ocean have, and will, affect us all. Many eye-opening facts are revealed.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Planning for Coastal Resilience: Best Practices  for Calamitous Times
Planning for Coastal Resilience: Best Practices for Calamitous Times by Timothy Beatley (Paperback - June 29, 2009)

Rising Sea Levels: An Introduction to Cause and Impact
Rising Sea Levels: An Introduction to Cause and Impact by Hunt Janin (Paperback - October 11, 2012)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.