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Sea Levels Affecting Mankind?

In recent ice ages the sea level dropped several hundred feet, exposing broad stretches of grazing land around the continental slopes. As the oceans have risen to the levels of the present time, these lands were no longer available to land-dwelling plants and animals. Currently the sea level continues to rise at the rate of about two millimeters per year. In the last 50 years, the ocean level has risen about 10 centimeters and in the next 50 years it is expected to rise another 30 centimeters. Humans are already battling rising sea levels on the coast of the Netherlands as well as in the cities of Venice and New Orleans. As ocean levels rise, they also cover wetlands such as swamps and salt marshes.
Try It!

Research the history of one of the areas mentioned above. Then look for what the citizens or governments of that area are currently doing to combat rising sea levels.




Prepare a report; written, oral, or multimedia, to illustrate your findings about the area you researched. Include the history of the area as well as what is currently being done. Conclude your report with your opinion about what you think should be done for that area.



  1. What is your opinion about how close cities should be to sea level?
  2. What do you think will happen to sensitive wetlands as they are invaded by rising sea levels?
  3. Describe the connection between the areas flooded first by rising sea levels and the location of the majority of Earth’s population.
  4. How do you think rising sea levels will affect the world’s agricultural industries (farming)?
  5. Should special accommodations be made for cities that are situated in coastal areas and below sea level? If so, what would they be?
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Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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