If a picture is worth a thousand words, Judith Fergin’s Water Reporter post has a lot to say about sea level rise.
Judith took the photo in April during an astronomical high tide. Such high tides can help us spot areas that are vulnerable to rising seas.
“The Town Landing part of Casco Bay has always been an important part of my life. The bench in the photo used to not look so isolated,” reported Judith. “At high tide, you could see a lot more of the rock it sits on and you could always see at least a bit of the lower rock next to it. Over the years, it seems like those rocks have shrunk as waters have risen. Now the bench is almost surrounded and its neighboring rock is submerged so you cannot see it at high tide at all.”
When you build something out of granite you are planning for it to last generations. It is unlikely that the bench in Judith’s photo will last as long as hoped. Maine geologists are planning for a three to five foot sea level rise along the coast over the next 100 years. More importantly, sea level rise and storm surges threaten much of the infrastructure — the homes, roads, and water treatment plants — we have built near the ocean.
While this tide was a naturally occurring event due to the gravitational effects of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, exacerbated by the amount of sea level rise we already are experiencing, Friends of Casco Bay’s volunteer Water Reporters are taking photos like this one to help us envision what sea level rise will look like in the future. We are using these observations as we work with local, regional, and state officials to assess and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Judith has posted more than 20 Water Reporter observations since she began volunteering. “I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in a fact-based and science-based endeavor to record how, as a community and a society, we are affecting the environment,” she reflected. “We need to do all we can to address climate change.”