Climate change could knock Jamestown off the coast
Rising tides could sink island colony.
Thu, Sep 02, 2010 at 07:42 PM
The tiny island of Jamestown, Va., is touted as the place where America began. Nonetheless, the town, site of the first permanent English settlement in North America, could be completely submerged as a result of climate change, according to AOL news.
The article cites researchers, warning that melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels could lead to a murky end for the historic city. The article said the town is in "grave danger" of flooding by the end of this century.
The story describes how the original settlers struggled through "famine, disease, and warfare with the local Native Americans" — all for the current site to potentially lose a battle against pollution. The article says the average temperature in Jamestown could be more than 7 degrees higher by 2100, making the island vulnerable to rising seas and erosion from extreme weather.
According to AOL, the sea already "gnawed at the west coast of the island for decades before a sea wall was erected in 1900." The piece says that man-made climate change threatens the natural park and the beaches in the form of higher storm surges and floods. The article cites local resident Grayson Chesser, a descendant of the original settlers, saying that it might already be too late to save these historic spots.
As a result, the tourism trade at Jamestown could disappear, as visitors would have decreased access to the historical sites. The story says that Jamestown, Shenandoah and Chincoteague rely on this tourism for more than $200 million in income each year — the loss of this income would cripple the local economy. The story ends with a political call to arms to limit emissions of pollutants and for more study of "the impact of climate change on national parks."