Download Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches by Cornelia Dean PDF

By Cornelia Dean

ISBN-10: 0231084196

ISBN-13: 9780231084192

Americans like to colonize their seashores. but if storms threaten, high-ticket beachfront building always takes priority over coastal environmental issues -- we rescue the structures, no longer the shores. As Cornelia Dean explains in opposed to the Tide, this trend is resulting in the fast destruction of our coast. yet her eloquent account additionally deals sound suggestion for salvaging the stretches of pristine American shore that remain.The tale starts with the story of the devastating typhoon that struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900 -- the deadliest ordinary catastrophe in American heritage, which killed a few six thousand humans. inaccurate citizens developed a wall to avoid one other tragedy, however the barrier ruined the seashore and eventually destroyed the town's booming hotel company. From harrowing money owed of normal failures to lucid ecological factors of average coastal methods, from stories of human interference and development at the shore to clear-eyed elucidation of public coverage and conservation pursuits, this ebook illustrates in wealthy element the conflicting pursuits, non permanent responses, and long-range imperatives which were the hallmarks of America's love affair along with her coast.Intriguing observations approximately America's shores, previous and current, contain discussions of typhoon Andrew's attack at the Gulf Coast, the 1962 northeaster that ravaged 1000 miles of the Atlantic shore, the beleaguered shores of latest Jersey and North Carolina's quickly vanishing Outer Banks, and the sand-starved coast of southern California. Dean offers dozens of examples of human makes an attempt to tame the sea -- in addition to a wealth of lucid descriptions of the ocean's counterattack. Readers will savor opposed to the Tide's painless path in coastal procedures and new standpoint at the seashore.

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Sample text

Sea level determines where the waves will break. But, to a great degree, the sun determines how they break, because it is the sun that warms the air to generate the winds that power them. In effect, breaking waves transfer solar energy to the coastline. The size of the waves depends on how fast, how long, and over what distance—or fetch—the wind has blown. The harder, longer, and farther the wind blows, the bigger the waves. The closer they are to the wind that made them, the choppier waves are.

On beaches with any kind of surf, they pose a potentially serious hazard to swimmers. And they leave property owners downdrift bereft of sand. Usually, these property owners respond in the only way they can, by constructing their own groins and sending the problem down the coast to the next guy. As one bitter seaside joke has it, groins are like lawyers: once one person has one, everyone else needs one. This insight is hardly new. Groins—or groynes—were recognized as a problem almost a century ago.

Today, global temperatures are on the rise and, possibly as a result, the seas appear to be rising too, relative to land. 1 meter (one to three feet or a bit more) rise in sea level by the middle of the next century. “That is not a worst case,” Leatherman told the Woods Hole gathering. ” In the Netherlands, “where they take this really seriously,” the authorities are planning now for a rise of more than three feet, he said. The effects of such a rise in relative sea level would vary widely from place to place, depending on local geology.

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