Millions of Americans lounge on beaches on Memorial Day, but many of those coastlines may become memories as the planet continues to warm. Global warming causes ocean water to expand, while glaciers melt and dump yet more water into the seas. The ocean now splashes 8 inches higher than 100 years ago, according to the National Climate Assessment released by the U.S. government earlier this month.
Rising sea levels have already begun to eat away at the shoreline of Miami Beach, above, while high tides flood the surrounding city even in calm weather.
"People in Miami Beach are living climate change," David Nolan, University of Miami oceanographer and meteorologist, told the Guardian.
Ninety percent of Miami sits less than 6 meters above sea level, according to a study published in Climatic Change. A 1-meter rise in sea levels would devour the beaches where sunbathers now show off their tans, along with nearly 20 percent of the city.