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THE HIGH SEAS: Brunswick looks bounce back and send seniors off on high note – Brunswick News

Brunswick High takes on Bradwell Institute tonight as the Pirates have senior night for the final home game of the year.

Any loss is tough, but last week was a heart breaker for the Pirates after they lost 24-21 to their arch-rivals Glynn Academy.

However, the regular season can end on a good note with a big win over Bradwell tonight.

Senior quarterback Anthony Mountain had one of his best performances last week, and with it being his final home game as a Pirate, look for him to put on a show as well.

This season, hes 110-of-209 for 1,531 yards, 10 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Mountain can use his legs to make plays as well if he needs to.

His favorite target, Chequerdo Foy leads the way for the Pirates with 35 catches for 529 yards and four touchdowns. He is also a senior for the Pirates that had an impressive game last week.

Xavier Bean is another one of Mountains favorite to throw to. He has 29 catches for 340 yards and three touchdowns.

While the Pirates can make some noise through the air, their rush attack is as dominate.

Brunswicks dynamic duo, Chuckobe Hill and Ree Simmons are two sophomores that have made defenses pay all season. Hill has 136 carries for 881 yards and eight touchdowns. He has four games with over 100 yards and averages 6.5 yards a touch. Hill needs 119 yards to have 1,000 yards on the season, and that could happen against Bradwell.

Simmons has 85 carries for 507 yards and eight touchdowns as well. He averages six yards a carry and 56.3 yards a game.

These two are also big receiving threat for the Pirates as well. Hill has 17 catches for 213 yards and two scores while Simmons has eight catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns as well.

However, if it wasnt for a stacked and rather sizeable offensive line, the Pirates offense might not be what it is now.

Bradwells offense is quite balanced. The Tigers average 186.6 through the air and 161.4 yards on the ground.

Like Brunswick, the Tigers also have a senior quarterback with Dariuse Cooper. He is 83-of-124 for 1,153 yards, 10 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Cooper is also the leading rusher on the team with 60 carries for 505 yards and six touchdowns. He has three games with over 100 yards and averages 8.4 yards a carry.

The Pirates need to be ready for him as he is the Tigers biggest playmaker on the offense.

Corrie Walker is also a force on the ground for Bradwell. He has 28 carries for 194 yards and two scores.

Walker averages 6.9 yards a carry and is Coopers favorite target to throw to as he has 21 catches for 391 yards and three touchdowns.

Brunswicks defense has to continue its success from last week. Despite falling to Glynn, the Pirates defense played well and got a lot of penetration on the Terrors. Now they need to do that against the Tigers.

The game is for third place in Region 2-6A. Kickoff is tonight at Glynn County Stadium at 7:30 p.m. as the seniors will get honored before the game.

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THE HIGH SEAS: Brunswick looks bounce back and send seniors off on high note - Brunswick News

This Cruise Line Sails 5-Star Luxury Hotels On The High Seas. I Had To Find Out More. – Forbes

When I heard there was a cruise line thats sailing, in essence, a fleet of mobile ultra-luxury hotels, I wanted to know more.

The company, Seabourn Cruise Line, is a small, elite division of Carnival Corporation, and the waySeabourndoes things is intended to delineate itself in nearly every way from the larger and more populist cruise options out there:

Small ships: Seabourns crafts carry 458 to 600 passengers, where the industry norm is several thousand, with some of todays most massive cruise ships carrying as many as 5,000.

An unusually high (nearly 1:1) ratio of crew to passengers.

Ultra-fine dining options, including an actual Thomas Keller restaurant (The Grill), staffed by crew members who have been trained in the ways of Chef Kellers organization, which of course includes his flagship French Laundry on the West Coast and Per Se on the East.

Strikingly well-outfitted (and, of course, spacious) staterooms. Evenstandard staterooms on a Seabourn ship measure 300 square feet, and available accommodations extend to more than 1,000 square feet for some of the premium suites. Beyond size, each room is graced by custom woodwork and other high-end fittings throughout.

Champagne service in a Seabourn Encore stateroom

Understated (but clearly costly) elegance in the construction, outfitting, and maintenance of the vessel: The high-end finishes to be found throughout the ship are reminiscent of the most intimate and luxe land-bound hotels, such as the one-of-a-kind Ritz-Carlton hotel in Kyoto and the stunning EDITION hotel in Barcelona (which was particularly close to mind for me, as it was from there that we set out for our ocean-bound Seabourn adventure).

Unique architectural touches intended to spark new traditions for the cruise lines guests (guest is howSeabourn religiously refers to its passengers): notable here is the central, circular stairwell that most passengers take to and from their staterooms, allowing them to incidentally encounter each other en route; its a sociable bunch who travel with Seabourn, by and large. (Thank you, central staircase, as well, for helping me beat my daily step-count target, even on days that didnt include a shore excursion.)

The centrally located circular staircase, here pictured on the Seabourn Encore

Another architectural element included on each one of the fleets ships thats designed to create a new tradition is Seabourn Square, a commons area for reading newspapers, provided, library-like, on hanging rollers, and the books in the ships library; engaging with the concierges and other passengers; and indulging in small bites and irresistiblegelato, which the culinary crew learned how to make authentically through training from a top proprietor in Rome that, after some cajoling, agreed to share its creamy secrets.

All of which is quite striking in intent and execution. Yet to be considered an ultra-luxury hotel (whether at sea or onshore) means to engage in and uphold essential customer service principles, at least in my estimation and methodology, which Ive developed in the course of my practice as acustomer service consultant, both outside of and within the hospitality industry itself. [Clarification: Even though I use the term 5-star colloquially in this articles title, the Forbes 5-Star standard for hotels, arguably the most meticulously reviewed and enforced grading system in the hospitality industry, has its own proprietary standards, which are not specifically considered below.]

Lets see how, from my subjective viewpoint, Seabourn measures up to the standards of the worlds best purveyors of hospitality and customer service.

The $300 million Seabourn Odyssey, arriving in Sydney Harbour

The power of recognition

The first element that a great customer service experience requires is recognition.Every guest needs to feel that they are seen, welcomed, and, if theyre returning, welcomed back.

Recognition, as restaurateur and master of hospitality Danny Meyer puts it in an interview I included in my book,The Heart of Hospitality,is the number one reason guests cite for wanting to return.

Here, Seabourn excelled, starting even before passengers had boarded the ship. Each of the employees checking in passengers at the Barcelona port terminal was adept at making returning passengers (of which there were many) feel like old friends coming back to grace the ship with their presence. And for us, completely new to Seabourn, the recognition was palpable as well. The crew was clearly aware that this was our first time with them, and they seemed dedicated to making sure we didnt feel like outsiders who had failed to uncover the secret handshake shared by Seabourn veterans.

Once aboard, the power of recognition continued to warm us, including Seabourn employees impeccableuncanny, reallyuse of our names. But recognition went beyond this. It included the crews awareness of us as people, individual people and members of a family, in a way that went well beyond the generic.

Anticipatory Customer Service

Beyond recognition, an exceptional customer experience can only be delivered by an organization that knows how to apply a special spice I callanticipatory customer service.Anticipatory customer service is the element that elevates a merely okay customer experiencewhat I refer to assatisfactorycustomer serviceto a level that builds true customer engagement and, ultimately, customer loyalty. This is the level of customer experience which, if achieved, makes customers excited to come back and willing to spend more money with you on line extensions and upgrades, as well as making them price-insensitive (within reason) and eager to do all they can to act as ambassadors for your brand, spreading the word and singing your praises online and off.

The best definition I can offer for anticipatory customer service comes from the methodology and ethos of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. It meansto serve even the unexpressed needs and wishes of your customers or guests.

Your guests may have failed to express such needs and wishes because...

Your customer doesnt want to be a bother.

Your customer doesnt know enough about the situation to know what they should be asking for.

Your customer isnt aware of the range of what you can offer as a service organization, and therefore has no inkling that such a request might be reasonable.

Your customer simply doesnt have the problem-solving, solution-creating ability that you, the service professionals, can bring to bear on the situation.

You simply beat your customer to it: you took care of what they were hoping for before they even had time to express it in words.

Anticipatory customer service is clearly smack-dab right within the Seabourn wheelhouse (Oh yeah! I got the chance to use the term wheelhouse in an actual nautical context.) Here are just two examples, selected from many.

In passing I had mentioned to a Seabourn employee, when we booked our passage, that our son is an aspiring pianist. Once aboard, we found that the crew had arranged to have one of the ships pianos available for his daily practice, and that the nearby employees were, without us needing to ask, proactive about turning down the music coming out of nearby speakers so he could hear himself play.

Noting our family itinerary, which included one day where I had opted out of the shore excursion and would be remaining aboard, and having pegged me as an incurable worker bee, the crew offered me a day pass to the retreat, a hidden-away poolside adults only area with cabanas and its own service staff, where I could type away in piece. (The adults-only restriction was unneeded, at least on this autumnal cruise; my fifteen-year-old was the youngest guest aboard by a margin of about 18 years. Apparently, other parents are better about observing truancy rules than we are.)

A Conduit for Relationships

One of the realities of providing hospitality (or customer service, the term used in most other industries) is that the most important relationships your guests have arenotgoing to be with you, but rather with their friends and loved-ones. So, a great provider needs to strive to be aconduit for relationships. In the Seabourn context, this was often achieved via their attention to the onboard groupings of passengers at their food venues. Seating areas were designed to allow for flexible configurations that could accommodate, when needed, everyone from a solo traveler or a couple to the many multi-generational groups on board. Although waitstaff were, of course, supremely attentive, they also took care to not interrupt intimate and animated conversations as they were cresting. And they seemed well aware of everyones relationship to each other, a l, Mr. Solomon, your wife and son are in the outdoor seating area; let me take you to their table.

The Prominence of the Human Touch

As a customer service consultant and customer experience designer, its my belief that the human touch is the new luxury, at least in many contexts and for many customers. After a recent period in time when it seemed like tablets were taking over the world, something different has in fact evolved, at least among very luxe service providers: a realization that technology is best kept below eye level or otherwise out of view of the customer.

And this was how it was on Seabourn: plenty of places to plug in your own devices, of course, but no need to use a tablet to order amenities such as room service. (Nor did we have to attempt to manage one of those horrific scrolling-via-remote scenarios on the in-room TV, one of the worst technical developments of our era.)

Nor were employees of Seabourn visibly burdened by electronics themselves. The only time that the crew had to break eye contact with a guest was on occasions when they had to refer to a clipboard sign-up sheet for a shore excursion or when they used a handheld ID card scanner when we were embarking and disembarking the boat.

(For an in-depth look at human vs. technologically deployed customer service, you may enjoy myarticleon how to use my Jetsons Test to make such decisions.)

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This Cruise Line Sails 5-Star Luxury Hotels On The High Seas. I Had To Find Out More. - Forbes

Opinion | Another auto merger across the high seas – Livemint

Frances PSA Group, the owner of carmaker Peugeot, and its US-Italian rival Fiat Chrysler are in talks for a potential merger. If the talks lead to an eventual deal, it would create a $50-billion behemoth of a car-maker. Reports also suggest that the combined entity would become the fourth largest car-maker in the world, with just Volkswagen, Toyota, and Renault-Nissan ahead of it.

Investors appear to see merit in the two companies merger drive, as it would bring several brandssuch as Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Jeep, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhallunder one umbrella. Paris-listed Peugeots shares rallied more than 6% to an 11-year high, while those of Fiat Chrysler jumped about 10% in Milan.

The global automobile industry has been in a churn for a while. The world over, car-makers are seeing a deceleration in sales. This coincides with an increasing shift towards electric vehicles, stricter emission norms, and the development of disruptive technologies such as driverless vehicles pioneered by the likes of Tesla. It requires huge resources to keep pace with such rapid changes in the regulatory and technological environment. Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot would hope to leverage each others knowhow and financial heft to better compete against groups that are seen to have vroomed ahead. Yet, the deal could find itself up against a political barrier. The Chinese government has a considerable stake in PSA, and despite the occasional claims to the contrary, there has been no let up in the tariff war between China and the US.

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Opinion | Another auto merger across the high seas - Livemint

What’s Leaving Netflix in November 2019? All the Movies and Shows on Last Call List – Newsweek

Time is running out for dozens of movies and TV shows available now for streaming on Netflix, and November will bring the removal of many titles from the platform.

The first eight seasons of New York police drama Blue Bloods, starring Tom Selleck as police commissioner Frank Raegan, is set to make its exit from Netflix in November. The series' ninth season wrapped in the spring and never made its way to Netflix. The removal of the show signals the potential decline of CBS programs that will be available on the network as CBS plans to expand their CBS All Access streaming portal.

Blue Bloods isn't the only series getting the boot. All four seasons of The CW's action-thriller Nakita will be leaving Netflix in November along with Continuum, Life Unexpected, The Red Road, Last Tango in Halifax and Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby.

A number of movies will make their departure from the streaming platform, too, from family-friend films like A Dog's Life and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa to horror films likes Scream and The Sixth Sense.

Of course, for every title to leave Netflix, several more will be released on the network. Hundreds of movies and TV series, including plenty of original features, are set to make their debut on Netflix in the new month. Fan-favorite series like The Crown and High Seas are set to return to Netflix, while a few highly anticipated original films like The King and The Irishmen will finally make premiere.

In the meantime, subscribers still have a little bit of time left to binge-watch a few of the titles on Netflix's last call list. See everything leaving Netflix in November below.

November 1

42

300

A Dog's Life

As Good as It Gets

Caddyshack

Caddyshack 2

Chasing Liberty

Gran Torino

Groundhog Day

Little Women

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade

Road House

Romeo Is Bleeding

Scary Movie 2

Scream

Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden

Sex and the City: The Movie

Stardust

Stitches

Taking Lives

The American

The Bank Job

The Bishop's Wife

The House Bunny

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Sixth Sense

November 2

Last Tango in Halifax, Season 1 through 3

November 3

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby, Season 1

November 5

Blue Bloods, Season 1 through 8

November 15

Continuum, Season 1 through 4

November 16

Mamma Mia!

November 22

Nikita, Seasons 1 through 4

November 23

The Red Road, Seasons 1 and 2

November 25

Boyhood

November 29

Coco

November 30

Life Unexpected, Season 1 and 2

Continue reading here:

What's Leaving Netflix in November 2019? All the Movies and Shows on Last Call List - Newsweek

These are the cities that will drown first as the seas rise – Salon

Earth's average temperature has increased by about 2 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution, which is causing a whole slew of problems from intensifying wildfires to melting ice sheets toocean levels rising.Scientists have urged that humanity must limit further warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is the goal set in the Paris Agreement, or risk catastrophe. While cities drowning due to sea levels rise is sometimes discussed as a worst-case scenario, new research says such doomsday scenarios are all but certain.

A new study published in Nature Communications this week states that an estimated 150 million people are living on land that will be below the high tide line by 2050. That estimate was previously believed to be around 38 million people.

A handful of major cities around the world could be plagued by annual flooding events as soon as 2050, too.

150 million people represents 2% of Earth's current population, meaning one in fifty humans on Earth live on land that may be submerged within 31 years. Such a migration event would constitute the greatest refugee crises in the history of the planet, dwarfing the refugee crisis resultant of the second world war.

The new estimates were made by scientists at Climate Central, a science organization based in New Jersey. The study states that 70 percent of the total number of people around the world living on vulnerable land are in just eight Asian countries: China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan. Specifically, six Asian nations China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are predicted to be the most vulnerable. The peer-reviewed study states that 237 million people in these countries occupy areas that are highly likely to experience coastal flooding once or multiple times per year by 2050.

This estimate quadruples previous ones used with older elevation data. Traditional elevation measurements use satellites and often struggle to account the difference between the true ground level and the tops of buildings, trees and other elevated structures. Researchers at Climate Central used artificial intelligence to make more accurate predictions.

Even more concerning, the predictions dont include future population growth or land lost to coastal erosion. In Vietnam, previous estimates showed some scattered parts of southern Vietnam being submerged by a high tide. The latest predictions by Climate Central predict that the entire half of the country will be submerged. Much of Ho Chi Minh City, which is a major economic hub and home to nearly 9 million people, is part of what is expected to submerge.

In Thailand, Bangkok is especially threatened, according to the study. The Pearl River Delta, in China, Bangladesh and Jakarta, Indonesia, are too. Jakarta has been dubbed the fastest sinking city in the world, by the BBC, which has reported how the Indonesian capital of Jakarta is sinking by an average of one to 15 centimeters a year.

Much of Mumbai, India, is at risk of being wiped out as well. Previously, estimates suggested that 5 million people in India would face challenges by sea levels rising, but the new ones suggest it would be around 36 million people.

The study notes that some of the coastal cities will likely see larger proportions of their populations being displaced. Even with lower carbon emissions and stable Antarctic ice sheets, these cities are still expected to be impacted.

We find that the global impacts of sea-level rise and coastal flooding this century will likely be far greater than indicated by the most pessimistic past analyses relying on [shuttle radar topography], the study states. These results point to great need for the development and public release of improved terrain elevation datasets for coastal areas, for example via the high-resolution imagery and lidar point clouds increasingly collected by satellite today.

As Salon has previously reported, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by 95 percent over the past three decades.

As scientists at various agencies including NASA have warned, even if humanity stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, global warming would still happen for decades and even centuries.

Thats because it takes a while for the planet (for example, the oceans) to respond, and because carbon dioxide the predominant heat-trapping gas lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, NASA states.

Responding to climate change, according to NASA, requires a two-tier approach: mitigation and adaptation. Now that the sea level rise is inevitable, adaptation is the only possible reaction to our soon-to-be-submerged cities.

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These are the cities that will drown first as the seas rise - Salon

Highland cadets witness life on the high seas on UK’s newest aircraft carrier – Press and Journal

A group of cadets got the chance to explore the newest and largest UK aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, over the weekend.

Cadets and staff from 161 (1st Highland) Squadron, 379 (County of Ross) Squadron and 2405 (Dingwall) Squadron of Highland Wing, Royal Air Force Air Cadets had the unique opportunity to board the ship while she was berthed at Cromarty Firth in Invergordon.

HMS Prince of Wales will be commissioned at the end of 2019, and will be handed over to the Royal Navy and fully ready for frontline duties from 2023.

The ship is currently planned to carry up to 40 F-35B Lightning II stealth multi-role fighters piloted by both Navy and Royal Air Force pilots, along with Merlin helicopters for airborne early warning and anti-submarine warfare.

A total of 29 staff and cadets were given a tour of HMS Prince of Wales by Lieutenant Commander Graeme Flint and Lieutenant Martin Wardle, who took them through the numerous decks including the main control room, hangar deck, flight deck and control tower.

Squadron Leader Andy Dobson said: The cadets and staff thoroughly enjoyed the visit gaining such coveted access to the Navys newest ship. It is always possible that one of our young cadets today could be flying off this aircraft carrier in the years to come.

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Highland cadets witness life on the high seas on UK's newest aircraft carrier - Press and Journal

Ghost Nets Haunt the World’s Oceans, Hunting Beyond the Grave – Atlas Obscura

In 2016, Edgardo Ochoa came to Panama to bust some ghosts. The government had just received a report that a monstrous abandoned fishing netknown as a ghost netwas entangled in a coral reef in Coiba National Park, a prison-island-turned-marine-preserve popular with nesting sea turtles. When Ochoa arrived, he saw that the ghost was over 150 feet long, its nylon lattice stuck to jutting mounds of coral like a too-tight hairnet, snagging animals as it was dragged to and fro in the waves. The water was shallow, so from his boat, Ochoa was immediately able to spot the bodies of trapped fish and snailssome alive, some dead.

It took Ochoa and a team of at least seven other divers two days to remove the net, by cutting it into smaller sections that could be hauled up to the surface with minimal damage to the reef. Every six hours, as the tide changed, the net collected more passing critters and debris. At one point, Ochoa found the body of a female sea turtle the size of a laptop. Im pretty sure she died because she couldnt reach the surface and breathe, he says.

Ghost nets haunt oceans across the world at every possible depth. They linger at the surface, dangling from buoys and enmeshed in coral reefs, and they collapse to the seafloor, knotted in wrecks and snagged in the ribs of decomposing whales. As with anything abandoned or lost, no one knows how just many there are. But there is a seemingly infinite supply of these wraiths, which trap anything that swims by like flypaper, dooming them to starvation, suffocation, or predation. They just sit there and fish, and kill and kill and kill and kill, sea urchin diver Mike Neill told NBC News.

In his work as a marine safety officer for Conservation International, Ochoa encounters a lot of ghost nets, which fall under the larger umbrella of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG). According to a 2016 report from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, ALDFG comprises close to 10 percent of the worlds total marine debris. Ghost nets are thought to make up at least 46 percent of the total mass of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that eternally swirling vortex of litter somewhere between California and Hawaii, according to a 2018 study in Nature.

Ghost nets arent quite like any other kind of plastic pollution in the oceans. Theyre larger, more spread out, and much harder to remove than smaller, more discrete items, such as trash bags and water bottles. And unlike those plastics, ghost nets are rarely discarded on purpose. Most of the time gear costs a lot of money, so theyre not abandoned intentionally, says Laurent Lebreton, an oceanographer studying ghost nets for nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup, and author the Nature study. They might have been damaged and snagged by a nearby vessel, or lost in a storm, which can make it dangerous to attempt to retrieve them at the time. They also might be intentionally abandoned by illegal fishing operations, if they happen to spot the authorities in the distance.

And ghost nets, by their very nature, are a threat to just about every kind of marine life. They pose a particular threat to air-breathers and larger animals such as whales and dolphins, who can be hopelessly tangled and, like Ochoas sea turtle, die of drowning. But the nets are indiscriminate, just as easily sweeping up less-charismatic species and the cornerstones of fisheries. Some ghost nets designed to catch certain kinds of fish will just go on doing it, a phenomenon is called ghost fishing, Ochoa says. This attracts scavengers, who get caught themselves. The nets also clog up waterways, making it harder for vessels of any kind to pass through.

Humans have fished using free-floating nets for centuries, but in the past they were made of biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, that break down quickly at sea, Lebreton says. But ghost nets today are almost exclusively made of plastic and nylon, and can take up to 600 years to degrade (into microplastics). They cross entire oceans, often with unintentional stowaways, from crabs to microbes that might endanger ecosystems in ways no scientist currently understands, Lebreton adds.

Its clear that ghost nets need to be removed from the ocean, but theres no obvious way to do it. After encountering countless ghost nets at Conservation International, Ochoa has developed a ghost-net-removal course in collaboration with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), an international organization that teaches and certifies scuba divers. There are more than six million active recreational divers worldwide, Ochoa says. No one has time or resources for a massive cleanup, so I was thinking, can we do a little bit at a time?

Though it is like a coastal cleanup in which people walk the beaches picking up litter, Ochoas ghost netbusting program is much more time-consuming, and even potentially dangerous. Ochoa recommends divers clean up nets in a group of at least six people. If divers hear of ghost nets, or come across any, they should tag the site with marker buoys. Once they return to the site, its a matter of descending, cutting out sections of the nets, and attaching them to lift bags (without getting snagged oneself). Its basically a supermarket bag with some straps. You attach it to the intended lift weight and then you inflate the bag underwater, Ochoa says. Ideally youd have four divers in the water and two on the boat to receive the lift bags.

Beyond lift bags, coastal ghost-net removal only requires equipment one could find in a dive shop and a hardware store. Actually doing it, on the other hand, is not simple. It requires diving skill, a great deal of precision, and an understanding of how the nets entangle the landscape. If its on a rocky reef, no problem, Ochoa says. But if its on a coral reef, you have to be careful to not damage the coral. And then theres the issue of removing trapped animals that are still alive. You have to be very careful with the animals, he says. Fish, seashells, and starfish are easy to remove. But anything bigger like a shark or manta or sea lion can be dangerous to the diver.

Since Ochoas course debuted in 2018, approximately 25 divers in 20 different countries, including the United States, Dubai, Qatar, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Mexico, have completed it. But Ochoas course only reaches so deepto 60 feet below the surface, with lift bags rated to lift no more than 50 pounds at a time. This only covers a tiny percentage of ghost nets, the ones that snag close to shore in places that see regular divers. As nets get larger, deeper, and farther offshore, the difficulty of removing them multiplies.

A FAD, or a fish aggregating device, does exactly what it sounds like it does, Lebreton says. In his work studying the garbage patch, Lebreton says, he found FADs to be the largest kind of ghost net. FADs often consist of floating buoys with attached synthetic nets, which can be up to a mile long, and hanging hundreds of feet into the water column. Some kinds of fish are attracted to any floating objects and the idea is that over time, FADs develop their own entire ecosystems, attracting species attractive to fishers. Some ghost net FADs are meant to drift, while others are moored and come loose. They can be large and may get Frankensteined together into an entangled behemoth that is impossible to disarticulate.

There are no regulations regarding how many FADs are put into the water each year, or how they should be collected, according to the Marine Debris Tracker, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative. It doesnt help that theyre deployed most frequently in the jurisdiction-free chaos of the high seas. The only thing holding FAD-users accountable are GPS trackers that some carry, which fishers rely on to revisit their FADs. The trackers are quite high-tech, and will let them know when theres a school of fish around the net, Lebreton says. But sometimes these nets may just travel too far and its not worth it for the fishermen to come pick it up.

In 2018, a 40-ton FAD washed ashore at Kamilo Point on the big island of Hawaii. It was massive, much bigger than the middling two-tonners that had been washing up on Oahu. Kamilo beach is so inaccessible that there was no way to bring a train or truck to remove the net, Lebreton says. I think the local government decided to burn it, releasing a whole bunch of melted plastic on the volcanic rock.

FADs can only really be collected on boats with enormous cranes. Even more challenging is even finding themtheir GPS trackers mean nothing if governments and nonprofits cant access the data. At The Ocean Cleanup, Lebreton is working to develop artificial, U-shaped coastlines that could help concentrate floating waste, from water bottles, to small ghost nets, to titanic FADs, in one place using natural oceanic currents. Were trying to reproduce what a coastline does, but in a system that drifts, he says. And once the system has concentrated plastic, we can go with a vessel and pick up the whole lot. Lebreton hopes the system, which is still being tested, will remove 50 percent of the mass of the garbage patch in the next five years.

As they work to clean up the oceans ghosts, Ochoa, Lebreton, and other advocates hope to see stronger conservation laws enacted and enforced. Lebreton wants more stringent regulations on the type and number of FADs that can be used, particularly on the high seas. And Ochoa wants laws incentivizing fishers to report their missing gear, a process that today often results in fines, and means that nets that might be able to be retrieved shortly after they are lost will continue to drift for years. The image of ghost nets is spectacular, a huge net hanging in the ocean, he says. But I dont want people to think that they are normal.

You can join the conversation about this and other Spirits Week stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

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Ghost Nets Haunt the World's Oceans, Hunting Beyond the Grave - Atlas Obscura

The Below Deck Crew Will Spill All the High-Seas Secrets in the Season 7 After Show – Bravo

If you thought this season of Below Deck was wild, just wait until you hear the whole story.

The Season 7 yachties are ready to reveal everything you didn't see on TV in the return of the Below Deck After Show coming soon to BravoTV.com and YouTube. Get ready to have all your burning questions about Season 7 of Below Deck answered, from behind-the-scenes intel to crucial updates on what happened with the crew after the charter season ended.

In last season's After Show, we saw anemotional side toCaptain Lee Rosbach as he reflected on Ashton Pienaar's overboard accident, got the dirt on all the hookups, and heard Kate Chastain's take on charter guest Krystal's unforgettable appearance on the show, just to name a few highlights. Revisit it all, above.

Catch up on this season of Below Deck here.

And you can relive the magic of the Season 6Below Deck After Show,below.

See more here:

The Below Deck Crew Will Spill All the High-Seas Secrets in the Season 7 After Show - Bravo

Storm surge, flooding caused by freak weather conditions – HeraldLIVE

Mondays storm surge, which resulted in flooding in low-lying areas between Amsterdamhoek and Port Alfred, was caused by a rare convergence of weather conditions, according to the South African Weather Service.

The flooding, which caused some road closures and disruption to businesses in low-lying areas, but no major damage, resulted from a spring high tide, high seas and strong winds all occurring at the same time, the Weather Services Garth Sampson said.

The passage of the cold front yesterday, in combination with a steeply ridging high-pressure system behind it, resulted in gale-force winds, which in turn caused high sea conditions of between 6m and 9m out to sea, Sampson said on Tuesday.

Simultaneously, there was a spring high tide which further enhanced the wave heights and resulted in a storm surge along the coast between Plettenberg Bay and East London.

While there have been other floods and instances where two of the three phenomena occurred concurrently, the last time all three conditions occurred at the same time in Port Elizabeth was in 2008.

Its the first time, other than during floods, that I have seen the roads in Amsterdamhoek flooded like that, Sampson said.

Had the winds turned onshore, places like Sidon Street [North End] and the N2 would have been flooded, as was the case on 1 September 2008.

He said the conditions were expected to subside from Tuesday night with wave heights still expected to be between 4.5m and 5.5m on Wednesday.

Moreover, abnormal waves are possible in the Agulhas Current between Port Alfred and East London from [Tuesday] afternoon until Wednesday morning, possibly causing coastal inundation, damage to vessels and affecting coastal recreational activities, he said.

While no major damage was reported, Port Alfred residents described Mondays stormy conditions as scary.

Port Alfred businessman Diederick Stopsorth said at about 4.30pm on Tuesday it appeared that the storm surge, which had resulted in road closures in some parts of the town, seemed to be easing.

There have been some road closures due to yesterdays [Monday] storm and right now as Im looking I can tell its making its way back.

There is no rain at the moment; its windy but yesterdays rain left a lot of flooding, flooding on roads, Stopsorth said.

Another resident, Siphesihle Msimang, said she had managed to drive home at about 5.30pm on Monday, before the storm worsened.

At the time, the water went just above my ankle but we could still drive about but it worsened after that and resulted in more flooding.

Even today theres still a lot of water and although its not raining at the moment, you can tell that its coming back, she said.

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Storm surge, flooding caused by freak weather conditions - HeraldLIVE

Long: The tragedy in Britain wasn’t unique – Roanoke Times

Thirty-nine people died last week who should not have. They were the victims of a growing international tragedy, and their story should touch the hearts of us all.

The thirty-nine were found locked in the back of a shipping container in Essex, England, and the evidence at the moment indicates they were victims of human trafficking.

You may have missed the story since it happened far away, but I took notice when I saw the reports online. Trafficking has been on my mind because of a presentation I recently attended (described below). Human trafficking takes many forms labor trafficking, sex trafficking, immigration scams. The stories too often are horrific; the victims frequently tragic. Trafficking is a problem that we all know exists but within our insulated shells we usually have the luxury of ignoring it. Thirty-nine people should not have to die as a reminder, but lets not miss the opportunity to call the problem to mind.

As I write this, there are many question marks in the Essex lorry deaths. By the time you read it, perhaps more will be known. The victims were initially identified as Chinese, but then Vietnamese migrants were included in the investigation. The container/trailer in which they were found had apparently crossed the English Channel from Europe, and people travel in such vessels only for one reason: to be out of sight of authorities.

For what reason is not yet clear. Thirty-one of the deceased were male, and likely were seeking work, or being exploited for labor. Eight were women, one a teenaged girl, and perhaps were intended for sexual exploitation. Certainly, whatever got them into that container, suffocating in the dark was not the fate they sought. Or deserved.

Millions of these shipping containers move across the globe daily, and ports or border crossings typically dont have the resources to inspect more than a fraction of them. Enough get through the minimal screenings to make it a profitable venture for the traffickers.

So the tragedy of the Essex thirty-none was sadly not a unique one. In an annual report on trafficking issued this summer, the U.S. State Department estimated that some 24 million people are trafficked annually thats equivalent to three cities the size of New York. Answers to the problem are not easy, and I dont pretend to have them. But these are numbers that should motivate the international community.

Not long ago, I got to hear a report from the frontlines of the war on trafficking. I spent an evening with R., who operates a Christian ministry rescuing exploited women from sex trafficking in an Asian nation (per the organizations preferences, I wont give his name or identify the nation because, frankly, he and his colleagues are in danger when they carry out their work).

R. described how young girls, often in dire poverty, are lured by promises of jobs, wealth, even marriage across the border to a larger neighboring nation. Some are even sold by the men in their families, steeped in a culture that tends to devalue daughters. Once taken, instead of the rosy futures that were promised, they find themselves trapped, either sold to foreign nations for unthinkable purposes or condemned to brothels in a large city.

R. and his colleagues attempt to interdict trafficking victims at the border and give them an avenue of escape; they then help them with rehabilitation, counseling, medical care, and job training so that prostitution doesnt remain their only option. R.s team does good work, but they are painfully aware that they only save a handful out of the thousands that are victims of trafficking.

Once upon a time, Britain not only outlawed slavery in its empire, it spent decades battling the international slave trade on the high seas, even though looking the other way was the path of least resistance. Its past time for the international community similarly to make human trafficking a higher priority. For the U.S., here is an issue which unites all our quarrelsome political factions, and it seems to me the weighty influence we have over international diplomacy could be focused more intensely on the subject. We should insist that nations seeking our amity prioritize the issue, and see that draconian punishments against those found guilty of trafficking are imposed.

The alternative is more daughters (and sons) lost to sex trafficking; more victims found dead in shipping containers. There are no easy answers, but shrugging our shoulders and looking the other way is no longer an alternative.

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Long: The tragedy in Britain wasn't unique - Roanoke Times

Rising Seas Are Going to Drown Way More Cities Than Wed Thought: Study – New York Magazine

Semarang, Indonesia, 2017. Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Climate change will bring (and has already brought) a wide variety of menacing disruptions to human existence. Some of these are well-known and already operative, like the wildfires that have been racing along Californias freeways or the perpetual droughts that have been immiserating Mediterranean farmers. Others are more obscure, like the higher rates of interpersonal and geopolitical violence a warming climate is expected to bring (social science suggests that high temperatures make human blood figuratively boil).

But none of the challenges posed by our warming climate has loomed larger in the popular imagination than sea-level rise. With global populations and wealth heavily concentrated in low-lying coastal cities, humanity has been preoccupied by the prospect of the oceans reclaiming the high points of our civilization. And for good reason: The best available models suggest that 37 million people currently live in places that will be below high tide by 2050 in an optimistic low-carbon-emissions scenario.

Or rather, thats what such models suggested before this week. On Tuesday, a new study revealed that those alarming statistics which had gotten so many of us all worked up about our favorite cities impending doom were wildly inaccurate.

The actual impacts of sea-level rise are going to be much, much worse.

Previous estimates of the impact that rising tides would have on coastal cities relied on (essentially) a three-dimensional map of Earth derived from satellite readings. But those readings were fundamentally unreliable because they often measured the planets upper surfaces such as treetops and tall buildings rather than its ground level. These mistakes led scientists to overestimate the elevation of many regions of Earth, particularly those with lots of vegetation and/or skyscrapers.

In a new study published by the journal Nature Communications, scientists affiliated with the organization Climate Central and Princeton University detail this methodological problem, then use artificial intelligence to determine and correct for the previous literatures error rate. Their research yields some eye-popping (or stomach turning) updates to our conventional understanding of what the next century has in store for our coastlines. MIT Technology Review helpfully breaks down the corrections in this chart:

Photo: MIT Technology Review

The New York Times captures the studys results in more vivid and harrowing fashion by illustrating its implications for some of the globes most populous low-lying cities. Mumbai the financial capital of what will soon be the worlds most populous country is now at risk of being entirely erased by mid-century.

In its optimistic scenario, the Princeton study projects that lands currently occupied by 150 million people will lie below high tide in 2050. At mid-century, that number is all but certain to be higher because of both population growth and internal migration. Between now and 2050, the percentage of the global population living in urban areas is expected to increase from 55 to 68 percent. And climate change could accelerate migration from rural areas to coastal cities as warming devastates many of the worlds agricultural regions. In other words, many coastal cities in the developing world are likely to see influxes of climate refugees, just as rising tides begin displacing their existing populations.

The new study does include one piece of slightly encouraging news. While previous models suggested that 28 million humans currently live in places that already lie below high tide, the actual number is closer to 110 million which means seawalls and other barriers have proven sufficient to keep many cities dry even as sea levels have risen perilously around them. Still, the scale of barrier construction necessary to save low-lying cities from collapse is now, ostensibly, far greater than previously understood when the task already looked harrowingly expensive, particularly for developing countries.

If the Princeton researchers projections are correct, averting mass death and suffering in the coming decades will require not only rapidly reducing carbon emissions and ramping up construction of seawalls and other fortifications but also facilitating mass migrations away from low-lying cities and islands and toward higher ground.

Daily news about the politics, business, and technology shaping our world.

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Rising Seas Are Going to Drown Way More Cities Than Wed Thought: Study - New York Magazine

New charges announced in conspiracy to bring massive amounts of cocaine into US, central Ohio – 10TV

COLUMBUS, Ohio Federal authorities in Columbus Friday announced charges in what they call a conspiracy to transport massive amounts of cocaine from South America to the U.S.

Coast Guard video showed alleged drug pirates throwing bales of cocaine overboard as authorities move in.

That 2017 bust near the Galapagos Islands led to the arrests of four men, and intercepted $25 million worth of cocaine bound for the United States, and central Ohio.

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"In 2017, I stood right here to announce our prosecution of four pirates caught on the high seas. What I could not say at that time, was that those pirates were couriers for this organization," said U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman Friday, announcing another arrest from the same drug operation.

"We are here to announce the extradition from Panama of Francisco Golon-Valenzuela, a Guatemalan national also known as El Toro."

Golon-Valenzuela is charged with conspiracy to import massive amounts of cocaine into the United States.

"This was an enormous and sophisticated operation," Glassman said. "The Mexican cartels need suppliers. There is no cocaine grown in Mexico it's grown in Colombia. So the allegation is that this organization, of which Mr. Golon-Valenzuela is a co-conspirator, was the supplier. It then goes to the cartels in Mexico, which distribute throughout the United States. Some of that is distributed here in Ohio."

The arrests are the result of a multi-year, international investigation between federal prosecutors, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"Our message is quite simple," said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mauricio Jimenez. "If you distribute drugs and destroy communities in Ohio, we will find you and bring you before justice."

Prosecutors say so far, seven people have been indicted from this drug operation.

Those indictments remain sealed until those suspects are taken into custody.

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New charges announced in conspiracy to bring massive amounts of cocaine into US, central Ohio - 10TV

Cities to be erased by 2050: Rising seas could affect three times more people – NEWS.com.au

In just 30 years, a whopping 340 million people living on the coast can expect annual flooding or permanent inundation, according to a grim new report released by scientists.

By 2050, the worlds coastlines will look incredibly different with 70 per cent of the projected 340 million at risk living in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. The 340 million projection is well above the previous estimate of 80 million.

The report, from Climate Central and published in the journal Nature Communications, paints a harrowing picture for most of Asia as sea levels are projected to rise between 0.6m and 2.1m.

By 2100, with the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet already worsening, as many as 640 million people could be threatened by rising sea levels.

Using a form of artificial intelligence known as neural networks, the new research corrects ground elevation data that has up to now vastly underestimated the extent to which coastal zones are subject to flooding during high tide or major storms.

Sea-level projections have not changed, co-author Ben Strauss, chief scientist and CEO of Climate Central, said.

But when we use our new elevation data, we find far more people living in vulnerable areas that we previously understood.

Previous data on rising sea levels made the crisis seem manageable but as Mr Strauss said, governments must act on these new maps to avoid economic and humanitarian catastrophe.

With the global population is set to increase two billion by 2050 and another billion by 2100 mostly in coastal megacities even greater numbers of people will be forced to adapt or move out of harms way.

Already today, there are more than 100 million people living below high tide levels, the study found. Some are protected by dikes and levees, most are not.

Chinas low cities are particularly at risk including Shanghai and Tianjin. Hong Kong also faces severe flooding risks by 2050 while the report projects much of the southern part of Vietnam could also be wiped out.

Ho Chi Minh City is in the south of Vietnam, the countrys largest and most populated city.

The numbers at risk of an annual flood by 2050 in Bangladesh also increased more than eightfold in the study.

But it isnt just Asia that will face inundation by 2050.

Parts of Brazil and the UK could see permanent land loss by 2100. The report estimates more than 3.6 million Brits could be at risk of annual flooding by 2050.

If our findings stand, coastal communities worldwide must prepare themselves for much more difficult futures than may be currently anticipated, the study warned.

Recent work has suggested that, even in the US, sea-level rise this century may induce large-scale migration away from unprotected coastlines, redistributing population density across the country and putting great pressure on inland areas.

The report will leave millions of people around the world questioning how long they want to live on the coast, lead author and Climate Central scientist Scott Kulp said.

Climate change has the potential to reshape cities, economies, coastlines and entire global regions within our lifetime, Mr Kulp said.

As the tideline rises higher than the ground people call home, nations will increasingly confront questions about whether, how much and how long coastal defences can protect them.

Several factors conspire to threaten populations living within a few metres of sea level.

One is the expansion of water as it warms and, more recently, ice sheets atop Greenland and Antarctica that have shed more than 430 billion tonnes per year over the last decade.

Since 2006, the waterline has gone up nearly four millimetres a year, a pace that could increase 100-fold going into the 22nd century if carbon emissions continue unabated, the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) warned in a major report last month.

Major storms that until recently occurred once a century will, by 2050, happen on average once a year in many places, especially in the tropics, the IPCC report found.

Annual coastal flood damages are projected to increase 100 to 1,000-fold by 2100, it said.

Finally, many of the one billion people living at less than nine metres above sea level today are in urban areas literally sinking under their own weight.

With AAP

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Cities to be erased by 2050: Rising seas could affect three times more people - NEWS.com.au

19 tons of cocaine and cannabis worth $380MILLION seized off Florida making massive dent in Colombian drug – The Sun

OVER 19 tons of cocaine and marijuana worth almost 300 million has been seized at sea.

The huge haul of class As was made in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after ten Coastguard Crews worked with "international allies" to intercept illegal drug-running rings in international waters.

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The drugs were seized in international waters in the Caribbean Basin and the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico.

The cocaine alone was worth $367 million (285 million) on the street, while the cannabis was worth $10 million (7.7 million).

Narcos gangs use the seas to ship large amounts of illegal drugs, favouring submarine-style boats as they're virtually undetectable on radar, sonar and infrared systems.

The high seas is prey to specialist machines devised by Colombian gangs to smuggle cocaine, heroin, cannabis and methamphetamine to American buyers.

The first incognito vessel was detected in 1993.

It was built from wood and fiberglass, but could not fully submerge and only travelled at 10 miles per hour.

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In a statement, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Neiman, Seventh Coast Guard District public affairs officer said: "The offload of over 13 tons of drugs represents the efforts of not only 10 Coast Guard cutters over 18 separate interdictions, but also the commitment and dedication of international allies and partners, like the Colombians.

"As we work together to disrupt the networks that profit from their them."

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19 tons of cocaine and cannabis worth $380MILLION seized off Florida making massive dent in Colombian drug - The Sun

High winds expected for most of Friday, especially along the coast – Bangor Daily News

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN

A crew from Sargent Electric Co. awaits an Emera Maine representative on Oct. 17, 2019, at the intersection of routes 175 and 15 in Sargentville before beginning work repairing outages caused by the wind storm.

Trick-or-treaters will miss the worst of a windstorm expected to hit coastal Maine with gusts of up to 60 mph starting after midnight Thursday.

A high wind warning is in effect for Hancock and Washington counties plus Bangor, Old Town and areas as far west as Greenville on Friday from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Todd Foisy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Caribou.

Temperatures in the mid-60s, a steady, light rain, 15 to 25 mph winds and gusts topping out at 25 mph are expected in those areas until midnight Thursday, Foisy said.

The good news is that it will be warm [for Halloweeners], but it will be wet, Foisy said. As long as they avoid the puddles, they should be fine. Were not expecting any thunderstorms.

The high winds after midnight 39 to 45 mph, with gusts at 60 mph will cause power outages, uproot trees and dislodge boats along coastal Maine, particularly between Penobscot Bay and Eastport, right until it gets dark on Friday, Foisy said. Elsewhere winds will blow as hard as 35 to 45 mph. Seas will run as high as 18 feet, with light rain until 11 a.m. and a chance of showers until 2 p.m.

The strong low-pressure system creating the winds and rain is moving northeast from Lake Erie to the St. Lawrence Seaway.

It will be a long event, Foisy said. The main threat is the strong winds.

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High winds expected for most of Friday, especially along the coast - Bangor Daily News

Let’s Send the U.S. Navy’s ‘Stealthy’ Destroyer Back in Time to Fight a World War II Battle – The National Interest Online

If the U.S. Navy had to refight the Battle of Leyte Gulf in contemporary timesclashing arms with a new Asian contender along Asias first island chainhow would it use its latest surface combatant ships to advance the cause?

To send the antagonists surface fleet to the bottom of the sea, one hopes. Back then the U.S. Third Fleet leadership got hoodwinked into chasing Japanese aircraft carriers with mostly empty flight decks around the open ocean. In their haste commanders neglected to bar a key passage through the Philippine archipelago, the San Bernardino Strait, to Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) battleships and cruisers. They didnt even keep watch.

And courted disaster. Amphibious forces on the island of Leyte and their naval protectors offshore would have paid a fearful price for the leaderships neglect but for the heroics of navy aircrews and tin-can sailors. Destroyers and destroyer escorts stormed the mammoth superbattleship Yamato and its consorts when they hove over the horizon on the morning of October 25, 1944. Meanwhile warplanes swooped overhead, pelting Japanese ships with bombs, torpedoes, and machine-gun fire. The defenders ferocity induced the ultracautious IJN commander, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, to beat a retreat from Leyte Gulf in the face of vastly outgunned American forces. In other words, aviators and small-ship crews salvaged a predicament in which the amphibious host never should have found itself.

Lesson of Leyte: keep your eyesand your firepowertrained on the straits. Thats where the foe will try to burst through the island chain. Thats where the foe has to be stopped to keep the chain intact.

Enter USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navys otherworldly-looking new guided-missile destroyer. U.S. maritime strategy vis--vis Communist China, todays successor to imperial Japan, seemingly aims to bottle up Chinas Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and merchant fleet within the first island chain, levying economic and military pressure on the leadership in Beijing. Built to deposit gunfire on hostile coasts in support of marines ashore, the DDG-1000 spent some years in the wilderness, looking for a mission. Thats because navy leaders pronounced its gun ammunition unaffordable after it exceeded $800,000 per (very modest-caliber) round. So much for supplying naval gunfire support in large volumes.

Yet Zumwalt packs a punch for surface warfare even with its main guns laid up, as they are now. The vessel boasts eighty Mk 57 vertical launch cellsin effect silos embedded in the hullarrayed along the periphery of its main deck. The leadership redesignated the destroyers chief mission as surface strike a couple of years ago. In simpler language, the DDG-1000 is now a shipkiller, a capital ship in the classic mode. It is destined to fight capital ships, much as armored dreadnoughts or sail-driven ships of the line pummeled rival battle lines for oceanic supremacy in ages past. In parlance beloved of oldtimers, Zumwalt will duel enemy surface fleets for command of the sea rather than concentrate on exploiting maritime command after the U.S. Navy has won it.

This is fitting. Never assume what the verdict of arms will be when the foe is entitled to cast a vote. After all, there is no landing troops or answering calls for fire unless offshore waters have been cleared of hostile shipping. Such missions are among the fruits of battle, not substitutes for it. And battles first have to be won. Only after seaborne dangers are at bay will the Zumwalt crew turn gimlet eyes ashore.

This shift in primary functions, then, rebalances the fundamental premises governing the DDG-1000 class from shore bombardment to high-seas action. How, more specifically, will the vessel deploy for island-chain contingenciesfor future Leytes? The basic concept underlying island-chain defense is that light, numerous forces will scatter along the first island chain, bearing the brunt of closing the straits to maritime movement. Small bodies of marines and soldiers armed with anti-ship and anti-air missiles will menace hostile ships and aircraft. Minefields, submarines, surface patrol craft, and aircraft will prowl in and above the straits, adding more obstacles to the barricade.

This adds up to a formidable deterrent. But it is a form of perimeter defense. The strategic canon teaches that a force defending a long, distended line takes on a challenge of unforeseen proportions. It demands that the perimeters guardians spread themselves thin. Trying to be strong at every point along a lineand recall that mathematicians define a line as infinitely many points strung togetherstrains the brawniest force. Even an outmatched opponent could mass its forces at some point along the line, overpower beleaguered sentries, and punch through to freedom.

Thats why martial sage Carl von Clausewitz seems to despair of this form of defense, which he terms cordon-warfare. This ruinous military method, he says, is worthless without powerful fire to support it. Clausewitz does hedge, however. His criticism appears to stem from the shortcomings of military technology. The effective firing range of gunnery remained short in his day, the era of the Napoleonic Wars. It covered little territory. He nonetheless suggests that gunnery can shore up defensive lines within firing range, defending all points effectively within reach.

Clausewitz never got a load of precision strike weaponry, which has extended the range and destructive power of fire support by orders of magnitude beyond that of Napoleonic cannon. And like all good soldiers, he was a great believer in putting terrain to work. The first island chain amounts to a line of immovable guard towers, all belonging to powers allied or friendly with the U.S. military. Geography divides up what looks on the map like a lengthy, porous frontier into a series of manageable segments. Fire support from the sentinel towers and mobile platforms coupled with obstacles strewn along the line renders the Clausewitzian critique of perimeter defense mootin this instance at any rate.

Or if you dont believe the greatest military strategist of all time, ask Bill Belichick, the greatest NFL coach of all time. Football is little more than mutual perimeter defense. The offense attempts to keep defenders out of the backfield, punch holes in the defense through the running or passing game, and march downfield to score. The defense replies by attempting to prevent running backs or receivers from penetrating a line backed up by a defense in depth. Coach Belichick would slaver at the idea of a New England Patriots defensive line whose linemen werelike Asian islandsimpassable to the offense. Plugging the seams between the blockers while mounting a defense in depth behind the linejust in case the offense punctured it through savvy blocking or passingwould become any New England defensive schemes paramount goal. Easy!

Take it from the G.O.A.T.

Transposing the analogy back into the military realm, joint U.S. and allied forces would firm up the line with light missile-armed units, sea mines, and so forth. Together with the islands, that defensive line might well hold. But the coaches, U.S. and allied commanders, would still need to defend in space behind the perimeter, just in case massed PLA forces burst through the linemost likely through one of its longer segments such as the Miyako Strait south of Okinawa, a passage thats about 150 miles wideor vaulted over it.

Thats where Zumwalts (and other heavy combatants) come in. DDG-1000s can constitute only part of the layered defense behind the perimeter. With only three hulls in the classwhich in practice means one or two ready for combat action at any time, to cover contingencies anywhere across the globethe U.S. Navy could never mount an impermeable defense with them alone. Short of that, commanders could look to NFL defenses for inspiration. For instance, a DDG-1000 could act as a free safety, or last line of defense. As the name implies, the free safety roams the backfield independently, using his eyes and intuition to judge where the offense might break through the defense and rushing to points of impact.

Hes a lone wolf. He may not prevent a long yardage gain, but he could save a touchdown. Zumwalts carry a serious missile load and, with their stealth, appear well suited to the sneaky role played by a free safety. They could ply the waters well eastward of the island chain and try to turn back PLA forces that penetrate into the allied backfield.

Or a DDG-1000 could act as a strong safety. Strong safeties linger fairly close to the line of scrimmage, typically concentrating on the strong sidethe side of the gridiron where offensive players mass, suggesting the play will go to that side. Their goal: stop the ground game before rushers gain significant yardage, or box in tight ends to keep the offense from striding down the field through short-yardage passes. Positioning a Zumwalt close behind the island chain would alter the geometry of backfield defense, preventing a single destroyer from patrolling a major arc of the island chainlet alone the whole thing. Like an NFL strong safety, a DDG-1000 would need help from fellow strong safeties. To cover all necessary sectors it would operate in concert with DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers or CG-47 Ticonderoga cruisers; with nuclear-powered attack submarines lurking in the depths; with light surface combatants such as frigates; or with unmanned craft as they join the fleet in the coming years.

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Let's Send the U.S. Navy's 'Stealthy' Destroyer Back in Time to Fight a World War II Battle - The National Interest Online

Ecuador: A Cocaine Superhighway to the US and Europe – Insightcrime.org

Little attention is paid to Ecuador. The murder rate is low, and there are no drug cartels like those that have dominated the criminal landscape in Mexico and Colombia. Yet Ecuador is one of the worlds cocaine superhighways. This is how the international drug trade likes it. Low key, low profile.

Over a third of Colombias booming cocaine production now flows into Ecuador, according to Ecuadorean anti-narcotics sources. From the countrys ports, coastline and airports, it is then dispatched around the world, destined for the United States, Europe and even Asia and Oceania.

Behind this trade is a complex and fluid underworld of specialist groups and sub-contractors coordinated by the brokers of powerful transnational drug trafficking organizations, and protected by corruption networks that penetrate deep into the state.

*This article is part of an InSight Crime investigation into how Ecuador became one of the global cocaine trades primary dispatch points.

Ecuadors role in the drug trade dates back to the 1980s, when it was a transit route for Peruvian coca base trafficked into Colombia, and home to precursor chemical trafficking networks that supplied the Colombian laboratories that processed that base into cocaine.

However, it wasnt until the turn of the century that Colombias quiet neighbor emerged as a cornerstone of the transnational cocaine supply chain. It began with the dollarization of the economy in response to an economic and political crisis in 2000, which instantly made Ecuador a money launderers dream: a country bordering the worlds biggest cocaine producer that uses the currency of the worlds largest cocaine market.

Around the same time, a military assault and mass aerial spraying of coca crops in Colombia was pushing both the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia FARC) and coca cultivation towards the Ecuador border. The FARC established control over cocaine production in the region, and began supplying traffickers from the Norte del Valle Cartel, who opened up routes into and out of Ecuador. The Mexicans soon wanted in on the action, and Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaqun Guzmn Loera, alias El Chapo, ordered his lieutenants to set up their own networks in the country.

SEE ALSO: Ecuador News and Profile

The convergence of these underworld forces on Ecuador coincided with a turning point in both the countrys political and criminal history: the 2006 presidential election that brought Rafael Correa to power.

Correas administration would prove a paradox. He oversaw a dramatic fall in violence and record drug seizures while bringing in an era of unprecedented political stability. But his government was plagued by drug trafficking scandals, andhis strongman style weakened the capacity of the Ecuadorean state and civil society to resist drug trafficking.

One of Correas first moves as president was to end the lease of the US naval base in Manta an election promise made to the FARC in return for campaign financing, according to recovered guerrilla communications, although Correa denies all knowledge of this. The decision created a huge blind spot in Ecuadors waters and skies that was soon filled with drug boats and planes.

The closure of Manta was just the start of an antagonistic foreign policy approach that saw his government fall out with both Colombia and the United States. As a result, anti-narcotics cooperation with both the supply and demand countries Ecuador is caught between was pared back to a bare minimum.

Correas domestic policies also created space for drug trafficking to flourish. He politicized the judiciary, using it as a tool to take down opponents. He also directed the security forces and intelligence units away from combating organized crime, and instead turning them on his political adversaries, according to police and intelligence sources, and cowed the press and non-governmental watchdogs with his fiery rhetoric and legal action.

Whether by accident, design, or both, Correas administration lowered Ecuadors resilience to drug trafficking at a crucial moment. Over a decade on from his election, and Ecuador is now an organized crime haven and arguably the main dispatch point for Colombian cocaine outside of Colombia itself.

There are two pathways cocaine takes through Ecuador the Pacific route and the Amazon route.

The Pacific route is largely supplied by cocaine produced in Nario, the border department that has more coca than anywhere else in Colombia. Drugs either enter Ecuador on small boats navigating the tangled jungle waterways that converge on the Mataje river separating Nario from the Ecuadorean province of Esmeraldas, or hidden in vehicles crossing the Rumichaca international bridge into the province of Carchi.

Shipments are collected at stash points near the border. Drugs that cross into Esmeraldas are hidden on properties and beaches dotting the Esmeraldas coastline, while loads that move through Carchi are stored on at farms and ranches in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tschilas. Some loads are then moved by boats that hug the coastline and hide in craggy inlets. Most of the drugs, however, are moved by road, stashed in commercial trucks, private vehicles and even public transport.

The Amazon route is mostly supplied by cocaine from Putumayo, the Colombian department with the second highest levels of coca cultivation after Nario, and leads through the Ecuadorean province of Sucumbos.

The main border crossings are the San Miguel and Putumayo rivers, where small boats deposit loads at stash points in lawless underworld outposts, such as Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Mestanza, and Tarapoa. However, drugs also move directly across the San Miguel international bridge after being loaded into vehicles in Colombia. From Sucumbos, traffickers take the countrys main highways to dispatch points.

Figures obtained from anti-narcotics sources, show that in 2018, 44 percent of drug seizures were destined for the United States, 22 percent for Europe, 4 percent for Central America, and one percent for each Asia and for Oceania, while 28 percent was unknown. The US market is mainly supplied by boats launched from the coast, and light aircraft, while cocaine is sent to Europe on contaminated cargo shipping.

Currently, the bulk of the cocaine shipped from Ecuador for the US market is dispatched from the coasts of Esmeraldas, Manab, Santa Elena, and to a lesser extent Guayas and El Oro in motorboats, although traffickers also use fishing vessels, submersibles and the stripped-out boats with fibre-glass coverings that anti-narcotics authorities call Low-Profile Vehicles (LPV).

The trafficking often begins with a hijacking. Pirate crews lurk off the coast, preying on fishermen to steal their boats and outboard motors at the point of a gun. The boats are then manned with crews recruited from struggling fishing villages, where $30,000 for a five-day trip is an enticing proposition, despite the risk they will end up joining hundreds of other Ecuadorean fishermen in foreign prisons, or will be among the many others that disappear without a trace.

Traffickers then have a choice of three routes. From Esmeraldas they can make a direct run to Central America, but this brings them perilously close to US and Colombian patrols. Instead, most prefer to loop around either north or south of the Galapagos Islands. The most recent US National Drug Threat Assessment estimated that in 2017, 17 percent of all US-bound cocaine first passed around the Galapagos islands, up from just 4 percent in 2016, and 1 percent in 2015.

The boats traffickers use for the Pacific runs are not equipped for long-distance high seas travel and must refuel as many as six times along the way. The fuel is provided by fishing vessels, which leave the city of Manta laden with gasoline and a satellite phone and wait at pre-arranged locations. The fishing boats carry five tanks at a time, allowing them to refuel several boats. Each tank is sold for $35,000, potentially earning them $175,000 per 1-2-week trip.

The traffickers journeys usually end off the Pacific coasts of Mexico or Central America, above all Guatemala or Costa Rica. Here they may be met by boats to hand over loads, but fear of being violently double-crossed has fueled the use of GPS-enabled radio or satellite buoys. This allows them to drop their shipments overboard before passing the coordinates to the pickup crews, which find them by following the signals emitted by the buoys.

While coastal dispatches remain the main method for trafficking US-bound cocaine, the use of Ecuador as an air bridge is on the rise, a result, authorities believe, of increased pressure on maritime routes.

Traffickers mostly use Cessna aircraft that are stripped out and modified so they can carry more drugs and fuel, and are even capable of refueling themselves mid-air. These aircraft can carry between 400 and 700 kilos, and take around six hours to reach Costa Rica or Guatemala, where they either unload or refuel and continue to Mexico.

Planes take off using a variety of clandestine or improvised airstrips. Traffickers construct airstrips by leveling off land in isolated areas, use existing strips on private or commercial properties such as strips used for crop dusting planes on fruit plantations, or they use abandoned airports or even roads closed for construction.

For cocaine shipped to Europe, however, the main routes run through Ecuadors ports: Puerto Bolivar, and above all, the countrys international trade hub of Guayaquil. Control of the ports is low, while corruption is high, and traffickers have an array of options for hijacking the freight that moves through them.

Some seek total control of the shipment by using front export companies as a faade for their shipments. These shell companies are set up in the names of frontmen, commonly people with few economic resources and no criminal background. In other cases they buy existing companies with long histories of clean exports to reduce the risk of them receiving anything but the most cursory inspection. Ostensibly legal export shipments are then arranged, and the cocaine is concealed within the products.

However, a more common technique is to contaminate legal shipments, hiding drugs in containers either before they enter the port, in the port or after the ships leave the docks.

To get their drugs into shipments before entering the port, traffickers target not the goods but the containers themselves. They pack drugs into compartments in the floor, ceiling or walls of empty containers in storage yards then use contacts in shipping companies to ensure their container is sent to a company planning an export to their target destination.

The containers may also be contaminated after entering the port district. Freight trucks with drugs hidden in secret compartments enter the district and move to known blind spots in security camera coverage to unload. Dock workers then break open containers and load the drugs among the legal produce. A cloned or fake custom seal is then put in place to mask the tampering.

Containers and even the ships themselves may also be contaminated after they have set sail. Smaller boats approach the ships in Guayaquils estuaries and pass the drugs on to contacts among the crew, who pack it into a container or a hiding place on board.

The actors that run these drug routes are a combination of Ecuadorean, Colombian, Mexican and European criminal networks.

Colombian cocaine brokers, such as the criminal group La Constru in Putumayo and the mysterious drug trafficker known only as El Contador in Tumaco, negotiate deals in Colombia or in Ecuadorean criminal hubs such Lago Agrio near the Putumayo border, and Guayaquil.

The deals struck are for a quantity of cocaine puesto en or delivered to. For Mexican cartels in particular, the handover can be around the Colombian border. However, the Colombian traffickers can also arrange delivery to dispatch points in Ecuador or to handover points in Europe or off the coasts of Mexico and Central America.

These cocaine brokers sub-contract the work of sourcing and transporting cocaine to the criminal service providers that operate at each link in the chain.

In the frontier region, the key players are the networks left behind from the demobilization of the FARC, which are active on both sides of the border. Rearmed and criminalized guerrilla cells take charge of compiling loads in Colombia and ensure their safe transport into Ecuador. Trafficking is coordinated using the logistics and transport specialists and networks of corrupt officials that used to work trafficking FARC produced cocaine.

The transport networks handover to specialist Ecuadorean dispatch networks. These sophisticated, low-profile organizations are led by individual traffickers, many of whom live disguised among regional social, economic and political elites.

These traffickers organize the logistics of a shipment: coordinating corruption networks, recruiting smugglers, securing fuel, equipment and any other supplies needed. They also hire armed actors to provide security, collect debts and carry out assassinations.

The different trafficking methods all demand different logistical capacities and contacts, and although some traffickers have been known to work with different methods, most are specialized.

Coastal shipments are organized by crime clans, many of which are concentrated in the city of Manta. These networks recruit fishermen from coastal communities to man their boats, organize refueling stops, and equip the boats with communications equipment and supplies.

In addition to securing access to airstrips, networks sending shipments by small aircraft provide fuel through corrupt private sector or state contacts, communications equipment that allows them to coordinate with the incoming pilots, and cloned license plates of planes with permission to fly in the area where they will be landing.

For port dispatches, the key is corrupt contacts. To contaminate containers before loading, they need contacts in the shipping companies, above all with the container dispatchers that control which containers get sent to which companies, and in the storage yards so they can work to load up the drugs. If they contaminate containers within the port district, they need truck drivers, stevedores, security guards and the winch operators that have access to information on the movements and locations of containers.

These traffickers and the routes they control are protected by corruption networks of astonishing reach.

Police and military not only wave drug shipments through their controls, they have even provided security for drug shipments and their traffickers, transported cocaine in their official vehicles and are even believed to have carried out assassinations, according to intelligence sources.

If traffickers are caught, then most are able to buy their way out of trouble. Sources describe how they pay off prosecutors and judges to sabotage investigations and to obtain favorable rulings. Traffickers are also able to call upon politicians on their payroll, who pull the necessary stings to put an end to their problems.

Although such corruption has been present in Ecuador as long as drug trafficking, official and expert sources all concur that under Rafael Correa it reached epidemic proportions, taking root in all branches of the state.

The 2017 election of President Lenin Moreno promised a new approach. Moreno reached out to the international partners estranged by Correa. Renewed US support has already vastly increased Ecuadors capacity to track drug boats, while close cooperation with Colombia enabled the two countries to hunt down the border regions most wanted criminal and dismantle a large part of his network.

Moreno also oversaw the arrest of senior political figureson corruption charges, and promised to investigate the ties between Rafael Correa and underworld groups, although Correa supporters and other critics denounce this as a political purge masquerading as an anti-corruption drive.

However, when a wave of public protests snowballed into violent riots in October 2019, the political terrain again shifted. Moreno blamed Correa loyalists and groups with links to organized crime and drug trafficking for hijacking what had begun as an indigenous protest against fuel subsidies. While those claims remain unverified, one thing is clear: the polarization and political crisis the protests unleashed now threaten to swallow his administration, pushing drug trafficking off the agenda and back to where it thrives in the shadows.

Top Image: Cocaine hidden in banana cargo at the Guayaquil port. Photo courtesy of anti-narcotics unit.

*Additional reporting was contributed by Mayra Alejandra Bonilla.

*This article is part of an InSight Crime investigation into how Ecuador became one of the global cocaine trades primary dispatch points.

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Ecuador: A Cocaine Superhighway to the US and Europe - Insightcrime.org

Rising seas will erase more cities by 2050, including Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Mumbai, new research shows – The Straits Times

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Rising seas could affect three times more people by 2050 than previously thought, according to new research, threatening to all but erase some of the worlds great coastal cities.

The authors of a paper published on Tuesday (Oct 29) developed a more accurate way of calculating land elevation based on satellite readings, a standard way of estimating the effects of sea-level rise over large areas, and found that the previous numbers were far too optimistic.

The new research shows that some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by mid-century.

Southern Vietnam could all but disappear. More than 20 million people in Vietnam, almost one-quarter of the population, live on land that will be inundated.

Much of Ho Chi Minh City, the nations economic centre, would disappear with it, according to the research, which was produced by Climate Central, a science organisation based in New Jersey, and published in the journal Nature Communications.

The projections dont account for future population growth or land lost to coastal erosion.

Standard elevation measurements using satellites struggle to differentiate the true ground level from the tops of trees or buildings, said Dr Scott Kulp, a researcher at Climate Central and one of the papers authors.

So he and Dr Benjamin Strauss, Climate Centrals chief executive, used artificial intelligence to determine the error rate and correct for it.

In Thailand, more than 10 per cent of citizens now live on land that is likely to be inundated by 2050, compared with just 1 per cent according to the earlier technique.The political and commercial capital, Bangkok, is particularly imperilled.

Climate change will put pressure on cities in multiple ways, said Ms Loretta Hieber Girardet, a Bangkok resident and United Nations disaster risk reduction official.Even as global warming floods more places, it will also push poor farmers off the land to seek work in cities.

It is a dire formula, she said.

In Shanghai, one of Asias most important economic engines, water threatens to consume the heart of the city and many other cities around it.

The findings dont have to spell the end of those areas. The new data shows that 110 million people already live in places that are below the high-tide line, which Dr Strauss attributes to protective measures like seawalls and other barriers.

Cities must invest vastly greater sums in such defences, Dr Strauss said, and they must do it quickly.But even if that investment happens, defensive measures can go only so far.

Dr Strauss offered the example of New Orleans, a city below sea level that was devastated in 2005 when its extensive levees and other protections failed during Hurricane Katrina.

How deep a bowl do we want to live in? he asked.

The new projections suggest that much of Mumbai, Indias financial capital and one of the largest cities in the world, is at risk of being wiped out.

Built on what was once a series of islands, the citys historic downtown core is particularly vulnerable.

Overall, the research shows that countries should start preparing now for more citizens to relocate internally, according to Ms Dina Ionesco of the International Organisation for Migration, an inter-governmental group that coordinates action on migrants and development.

Weve been trying to ring the alarm bells, Ms Ionesco said. We know that its coming.

There is little modern precedent for this scale of population movement, she added.

The disappearance of cultural heritage could bring its own kind of devastation.

Alexandria, Egypt, founded by Alexander the Great around 330BC, could be lost to rising waters.

In other places, the migration caused by rising seas could trigger or exacerbate regional conflicts.

Basra, the second-largest city in Iraq, could be mostly underwater by 2050.

If that happens, the effects could be felt well beyond Iraqs borders, according to Mr John Castellaw, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant-general who was chief-of-staff for US Central Command during the Iraq War.

Further loss of land to rising waters there threatens to drive further social and political instability in the region, which could reignite armed conflict and increase the likelihood of terrorism, said Mr Castellaw, who is now on the advisory board of the Centre for Climate and Security, a research and advocacy group in Washington.

So this is far more than an environmental problem, he said. Its a humanitarian, security and possibly military problem too.

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Rising seas will erase more cities by 2050, including Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Mumbai, new research shows - The Straits Times

Tens of Millions Could Be Hit by Sea Level Rise Sooner Than Thought, New Study Suggests – The Weather Channel

A new analysis of coastlines around the world indicates that sea level rise linked to climate change could lead to annual flooding and eventually to daily inundations at high tide more quickly than thought. More than 200 million people may be affected globally as soon as 2050, several times more than previously estimated, the study finds.

While the new study is not the last word on sea level rise, it highlights a persistent underestimation of the vulnerability of many coastlines, according to authors Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss of the independent research center Climate Central. The study was published Tuesday in Nature Communications.

As the tideline rises higher than the ground people call home, nations will increasingly confront questions about whether, how much, and how long coastal defenses can protect them, said Kulp in a news release. These assessments show the potential of climate change to reshape cities, economies, coastlines, and entire global regions within our lifetimes.

A car drives down a flooded street on Oct. 22, 2019, in Key Largo, Florida. King-tide level waters combined with earlier storms and other factors has forced water onto the streets in parts of the Florida Keys, which will likely see increased flooding as sea levels continue to rise.

Coastal vulnerability is well assessed in the United States, where high-resolution data is widely available. The new findings confirm earlier work by Climate Central showing that U.S. vulnerability will increase this century as sea level continues to rise. NOAA estimates that the national average of five high-tide flood days per year about twice as much as 20 years ago might reach 7 to 15 days by 2030 and 25 to 75 days by 2050, with the largest increases along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

The new paper shows that coastline vulnerability may be greatly underestimated in developing nations, where high-resolution data is unavailable or sparse.

The study finds that roughly 190 million people currently occupy global land that could be inundated by regular high tides (mean higher high water) by 2100, even if greenhouse gas emissions peak by midcentury. This compares to an estimate of 110 million people from a widely used NASA model.

Under the same scenario, less-frequent annual flooding could affect much more territory as soon as 2050, including land where some 237 million people live today within six Asian countries (China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand). This compares to earlier estimates of only about 50 million people.

Improved elevation data from CoastalDEM significantly expands the area around Bangkok, Thailand (in red) expected to experience, on average, once-a-year coastal flooding by 2050.

If emissions keep rising through the century, regular high-tide flooding could occur by 2100 on coastal land where 250 million people now live in those six countries.

Even if greenhouse emissions are cut drastically, more than 20 other nations could see regular high tides by 2100 over land where at least 10% of their population is now located, the study finds.

The new findings are based on output from CoastalDEM, a digital elevation model (DEM) developed by Climate Central. Because sea level cannot be directly measured with instruments along every inch of coastline, DEMs are used to produce regional and global estimates of which coastlines are most vulnerable to sea level rise.

One of the most commonly used DEMs for international assessment of coastal flood risks is NASAs satellite-based Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Like most of its counterparts, the SRTM tends to overestimate the height of topography near coastlines, because it detects objects such as trees or buildings that extend higher than the coastline itself. As a result, the impacts of sea level rise can be underestimated.

Some studies have properly handled the vertical uncertainty, said Dean Gesch (U.S. Geological Survey) in a 2018 paper on best practices for DEM use. However, many other studies ignore the vertical uncertainty stemming from the underlying elevation data.

The CoastalDEM model uses neural networks a form of machine learning that allows software to make continuous improvements over time in order to reduce systemic errors in the SRTM data. The model was trained on a subset of U.S. coastal locations where dense, high-resolution data was available. It was then tested on other U.S. and Australia locations before being extended to other parts of the world.

According to Climate Central, CoastalDEM reduces the typical coastal elevation error to an average of about 4 inches, compared to 6 feet or more in SRTM.

To calculate vulnerability, the CoastalDEM model output was combined with previous estimates of expected sea level rise, including both lower- and higher-end estimates. The lower scenario assumes that greenhouse emissions will level off by 2040 and then decline (the IPCCs RCP4.5 scenario).

The higher scenario assumes more rapid emissions increases through the century (RCP8.5), together with the possibility that instabilities within Antarctic coastal ice cliffs could lead to rapid sea level rise later this century, as past research has suggested.

Melissa Moulton, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who specializes in coastal oceanography and remote sensing, said in an email that the new findings are a valuable contribution to better assessing impacts of sea level rise.

These estimates are an important indicator of the threat to our coastal populations, said Moulton. She noted that actual inundation at any one spot will also depend on how land use changes and on the small-scale hydrologic and geologic evolution of the coastline, factors that are not considered in this study.

I think this is a very interesting study to assess uncertainties in projecting the impacted population by rising sea level, said Aixue Hu, a climate researcher at NCAR. It gives us another angle to look at this problem.

Hu points out that a number of uncertainties remain, as called out by the researchers themselves. According to Hu, the results also suggest that better coverage of DEM observations could potentially further reduce the uncertainty.

A far more precise technique than using DEMs is to carry out fine-scale elevation measurements using airborne lidar (laser-based radar). Such lidar-based data has not yet been collected along many coastlines around the world, but it is available for U.S. coastlines. Using publicly available lidar-based data, Climate Central has published high-resolution risk zone maps for U.S. coastal locations.

The study estimates that some 900,000 U.S. residents are in locations that would be flooded regularly by high tide were it not for levees and other protections.

The authors found that even the CoastalDEM data consistently underestimated the coastal vulnerability in the United States when compared with the finer-scale lidar-based U.S. data.

Ultimately, the most accurate assessments of vulnerability to rising seas, especially for smaller areas, will require development and public release of improved coastal area elevation datasets building directly off of new high resolution observations increasingly collected by satellites today, the authors conclude.

The Weather Companys primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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Tens of Millions Could Be Hit by Sea Level Rise Sooner Than Thought, New Study Suggests - The Weather Channel

The ice used to protect them. Now their island is crumbling into the sea. – msnNOW

An abandoned road is crumbling into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Adele Chiasson, a widow who lives nearby, said visitors are shocked at the changes that erosion has wrought on the cliffs.

ILES-DE-LA-MADELEINE, QUEBEC High on a bluff overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Adele Chiasson no longer ventures into her backyard for a simple reason: It is falling into the sea.

Im afraid to go out there, the widow said one afternoon from the safety of her kitchen. She nodded toward the 70-foot-tall, red sandstone cliffs out back that creep closer with each passing year. You never know when a section will fall off.

Decades ago, when she and her husband moved to this modest house with its majestic views, they never imagined a vanishing coastline might one day drive them away. But the sea long ago claimed the ground where their children once played. An abandoned road out back has mostly crumbled into the surf below. Two of her neighbors homes have been moved inland.

The day might come when she, too, will be forced to abandon this precarious patch of earth. I might not have a choice, she says.

The more than 12,000 residents of this windswept Canadian archipelago are facing a growing number of gut-wrenching choices, as extreme climate change transforms the land and water around them. Season after season, storm after storm, it is becoming clearer that the sea, which has always sustained these islands, is now their greatest threat.

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A Washington Post examination of the fastest-warming places around the world has found that the Magdalen Islands, as they are known in English, have warmed 2.3 degrees Celsius (4.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 19th century, twice the global average.

As in New England, Siberia and other global hot spots at higher latitudes, winters here are heating up even more quickly, eclipsing 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit). That change has fueled freezing and thawing cycles here that wreak havoc on the famous and famously fragile sandstone cliffs.

The sea ice that used to encase the islands most winters, shielding them from the brunt of fierce storms and pounding waves, is shrinking at a rate of about 555 square miles annually, data shows. Thats a swath of ice larger than Los Angeles.

Even as that natural defense collapses, sea levels have been rising at a rate roughly twice the global norm in recent years, researchers say.

The result is an escalating battle against erosion and flooding one that a growing number of coastal populations face, from islands in the South Pacific to communities along the U.S. East Coast.

In the Magdalen Islands, the consequences are unmistakable: Some parts of the shoreline have lost as much as 14 feet per year to the sea over the past decade. Key roads face perpetual risk of washing out. The hospital and the city hall sit alarmingly close to deteriorating cliffs. Rising waters threaten to contaminate aquifers used for drinking water. And each year, the sea inches closer to more homes and businesses.

Guillaume Marie, a geography professor at the University of Quebec at Rimouski, has studied coastal hazards around Quebec for years. He said the islands inhabitants are pioneers of a sort, as they wrestle with the daily challenges posed by climate change.

In Quebec, its clearly the most vulnerable place, he said. They are the first ones who are facing these kinds of problems.

Even the good news is worrisome, as Mario Cyr, a Magdalen Islands native and renowned underwater cinematographer, discovered last summer.

Cyr, who has crisscrossed the world from the Arctic to Antarctica to film nature documentaries, was astounded by what he found when he went diving in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

It was the end of the annual lobster season. Fishing crews had hauled millions of pounds of lobster from the gulf, reveling in historic catches. But when Cyr ventured roughly 50 feet down, he saw that the seafloor remained full of lobsters, almost as if the fishing had yet to begin.

Its not normal, he said one morning inside Bistro Plonge Alpha, the restaurant he owns on the northern tip of the islands.

Like baffled clammers in Uruguay and the struggling lobster industry off the fast-warming coast of Rhode Island, islanders here are anxious about the shifting sea. The deep waters of the gulf also have warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius over the past century, scientists have found, raising concerns about the fisheries that power the economy in communities around coastal Quebec.

As residents witness the changes, they worry their children and grandchildren will inherit a far different place than the one they have always known. And as the growing problems threaten fragile infrastructure, local officials spend their days figuring out how to try to hold back the encroaching sea and where to simply surrender to it.

They remember the ice.

The fishermen, the mayor, the 101-year-old woman in her hilltop house built with wood from an old shipwreck all of them describe the mystical look the frozen gulf once had in winter and the feeling of utter isolation from the rest of the world.

It used to be all ice, as far as the eye could see. ... Youd look out, and all you could see was white. Now you look out, and its just the ocean, said Geraldine Burke, now 72. The changes Ive seen in the last 10 years have been astounding.

My grandfather said he could remember when there was one winter with no ice, said Serge Bourgeois, 53, the planning director for the municipality of Iles-de-la-Madeleine. Now, if ice materializes at all around the islands in winter, it is exceptional.

While year-to-year variability exists, the amount of sea ice that blankets the Gulf of St. Lawrence is shrinking at a rate of roughly 12 percent per decade, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the center, said the loss of sea ice leaves the islands exposed and ripe for erosion. The presence of ice acts like a cover on the ocean that dampens the waves of winter storms, he said.

A number of harrowing storms have clobbered the islands in recent years, including last November, when 75 mph winds and massive waves knocked out power and communication with mainland Quebec. Sections of the main road were damaged and sand dunes obliterated. The Canadian military flew in workers to help restore power and check on residents.

Isabelle Cormier, 42, who returned last year from Australia to raise her children on her native islands, said that storm left many people particularly rattled.

This is home, and hopefully it will be here for a while. But I dont know, its going quick, said Cormier, who saw her familys small beach cottage inundated after a towering dune that had shielded it for decades washed away in hours. To witness it in one lifetime, its shocking.

The islands have long been home to hardy French and English seafarers, who are no stranger to the risks posed by nature.

Inside a small, century-old church in Old Harry, hundreds of black-and-white portraits hang in tribute to those lost at sea over the decades.

The Acadian refugees who colonized the archipelago in the latter half of the 18th century brought with them their unique strain of French and their Catholic faith. Other residents, including the islands minority English-speaking community, trace their roots to the survivors of shipwrecks that claimed vessels off these shores in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The land they occupy is an Edward Hopper landscape come to life. Brightly colored houses dot rolling green hills. Lighthouses cling to jagged sandstone cliffs. Massive sand dunes guard salt marshes and serene lagoons, and unspoiled beaches stretch for miles.

But as the sea ice that traditionally protected these islands shrinks, the sea that surrounds them is swelling.

Between 1964 and 2013, the waters along the coast of the archipelago rose an average of about 4.3 millimeters per year. Since 2000, that rate has been closer to 7 millimeters, or more than a quarter of an inch per year, said Marie, the geography professor. That trend is expected to continue.

While the numbers seem small and the data covers only a limited period, the change could result in multiple feet of sea level rise by centurys end.

For more than a decade, researchers have maintained a network of more than 1,100 coastal monitoring stations around the islands perimeter, which paint a portrait of how erosion is altering the shoreline. While some spots are relatively stable, others have steadily receded year after year. Severe storms have claimed as much as 55 feet of shoreline all at once.

The Post relied on data from Berkeley Earth, an independent group that analyzes temperature data, for its findings about how the islands have already warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius a threshold world leaders have pledged not to allow the globe to surpass.

Canadian researchers, who drew on air temperature records dating to 1873, have documented a similar change. Researcher Peter Galbraith and colleagues found the region has warmed about 1.9 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Milder winters and longer summers have kept the tourists coming some 80,000 trekked here last year to wind surf, bike and bird-watch many arriving on a ferry that now runs year-round.

But the islands fragility has brought them a sort of grim notoriety. Time magazine put the Magdalen Islands on its list of 10 amazing places to visit before they vanish. Architectural Digest included them on its 30 places to visit before theyre gone forever.

Madelinots, as locals call themselves, have no intention of vanishing anytime soon. But researchers estimate that without serious action, hundreds of structures and miles of roads could fall victim to erosion and flooding in coming decades.

We can try adaptation. We must try it, Marie said. But the solutions could be very expensive.

At 17, Bourgeois left his native islands to study in Montreal. Eventually, like many Madelinots, he felt the pull of home.

When he began his career, the idea that climate change would seriously threaten the islands seemed a stretch. Now, he spends his days worrying about how to protect infrastructure from crumbling cliffs, eroding dunes and rising seas.

It wasnt part of the job description. Now, its my priority, he said. In 30 years, it has completely changed.

As climate change bears down on the islands, he views them as a laboratory, a place where we can study ways to adapt.

In recent years, local officials have singled out a half dozen locations that must somehow be protected including the municipal headquarters and the hospital.

Another priority is the low-lying, historic fishing village of La Grave, a bustling tourist destination lined with shops and restaurants. Its weatherworn buildings sit on a spit of rocky beach only feet from the rising gulf.

Marie-Claude Vigneault, co-owner of Caf de la Grave, said last falls storm ripped away the rear terrace from her 150-year-old building. It does worry me, she said of future storms, noting that when the restaurant closes each winter, workers remove the tables and anything else that could get damaged by flooding.

Then there are the roads, none more critical than Route 199, the islands main artery. Maintained by the provincial government, it connects the islands with bridges and causeways, often running along slivers of land hemmed in on both sides by water.

Officials have added a dozen miles of massive rocks around parts of the island to shore up dunes and protect power poles and stretches of road. But much of the rock must be imported from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. It is expensive and can be an eyesore. And officials have realized that protecting one spot can divert water and create another problem nearby.

A lot of what we are doing is trial and error, Bourgeois said. And there are unintended consequences.

In locations in need of immediate attention, officials often rely on huge amounts of sand to replenish dunes and beaches. Its a quicker, cheaper solution, and sand is abundant on the islands. But its a temporary fix the sea is always hungry.

Jonathan Lapierre, now in his second term as Iles-de-la-Madeleines mayor, refers to the approach as nourrir le monstre. Feeding the monster.

Officials say the local government simply cant afford to spend huge sums to protect places that arent economically essential.

Not everything can be fixed; not everything can be saved, Bourgeois said, noting that parking lots, hiking trails and scenic overlooks already have been relocated to sturdier ground. In some cases, you have to accept retreat.

Already, nearly a dozen homes on the islands have been relocated, and most everyone expects that number to grow.

The government of Quebec has set aside tens of millions of dollars to help with coastal erosion across the sprawling province. But Lapierre estimated it will take upward of $100 million in coming years to shore up infrastructure on the Magdalen Islands alone much of it to safeguard Route 199, raise buildings and reinforce the shoreline near the hospital and city hall.

The municipalitys total annual budget is roughly $26 million.

We need more money, more human resources, more help, the mayor said. With just the municipality alone, its impossible to protect the islands completely.

But the Canadian government, where lawmakers in June declared a national climate emergency, is navigating an array of calamities.

Thousands in eastern Canada were forced to evacuate this year after monumental flooding. In the countrys Northwest Territories, melting permafrost is threatening roads and structures. Troops have been strained not only by overseas deployments, but also by constant missions to help after floods, wildfires and other disasters.

Amid so many priorities, Lapierre and other officials keep lobbying for aid, emphasizing the islands importance as a vacation destination, its history and its future.

I hope my daughter will be able to live her life here, Lapierre said, and also my daughters daughter.

Across the islands, the wharfs brim with tales about fishermen ordering bigger boats, upgrading their engines and buying new pickup trucks. A local boatbuilding shop is booked with orders more than a year out.

For now, the hundreds of lobster fishermen and women on the Magdalen Islands, are delighted to be catching double or more what boats here caught barely a decade ago. Fishermen who once expected to haul in 15,000 pounds of lobster during the nine-week season that begins each spring now say 30,000 to 40,000 pounds isnt uncommon.

Last year was the best year in 40 to 50 years. And this year has been even better, Claude Cyr, 67, said one morning as he unloaded the days haul from his boat, Cap Bleu.

But the captains who have long fished these waters know that if the gulf continues to warm, the lobsters that have flocked north from places such as Maine might one day keep moving, taking the good times with them.

Were all worried about that, said Sidney Clark, 63, as he checked each of his nearly 300 traps one morning.

Mario Cyr, the underwater cinematographer, said the bizarre lobster scene he witnessed on the sea floor last summer brought to mind Inuit hunters hed met in the Arctic, where climate change has shifted hunting seasons in confounding ways and altered the rhythms of everyday life.

Right now, we are lucky, said Cyr, 59. We have the ideal temperature for lobsters. But nobody knows how long it will last.

In September, Hurricane Dorian delivered the latest lesson on fragility.

The storm, which ravaged the Bahamas on its way up the Atlantic coast, was weakening but still packed winds topping 80 miles per hour as it plowed through the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

That was enough to once again pummel the Magdalen Islands.

Business owners in La Grave watched as water flooded their shops. Several homes were destroyed, including along a popular strip lined with about 30 seaside cottages that officials now insist will be abandoned for good over the next year the latest retreat, but certainly not the last.

The storm tossed boats ashore like bath toys. Massive waves pounded the sandstone cliffs, tearing away large sections in places. Storm surges blocked roads. Thousands of homes lost power.

People are very emotional right now, Mayor Lapierre said during a news conference the day after the storm. It was a long night. Some probably havent slept and today are seeing their investments, their dreams and goals swept away.

One of those people was Cynthia Baril, who co-owns two rental cottages on the quaint strip that will now be surrendered to the sea. She has spent long hours trying to find a new place to move the homes, agonizing over the small fortune it will take to do so and mourning the loss of a place she called a little paradise.

Has Dorian caused significant damage? she asked. Yes, and not just to the cottages, but to people, too.

Bourgeois said residents have reacted with their typical resilience, but also with a measure of acceptance about what increasingly seems like a new reality. Two crippling storms had hit the islands in 10 months, the second during a time of year that typically is calm. Now, the winter storm season lies ahead, and with it, another season of uncertainty and angst.

Crews continue fortifying parts of Route 199, trying to hold the swelling waters at bay. The fishermen have stored their wooden traps until spring, when they can return to the lobster-filled gulf. Adele Chiasson sits in her house atop the bluff, hoping the cliffs keep their distance. She tried to sell several years ago, but there were no takers.

A lot of people really liked the house, she said, but when they went out back, they were afraid.

Like other Madelinots, she is left to wait and worry, to hope and to carry on.

Nous sommes entours par locan. Il ny a nulle part o se cacher, Bourgeois said.

We are surrounded by the ocean. There is nowhere to hide.

Chris Mooney and Olivier Laurent contributed to this report.

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The ice used to protect them. Now their island is crumbling into the sea. - msnNOW


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