Grand Strand researchers watch sea levels as U.N. report warns of climate change

Grand Strand

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — Scientists from around the world say climate change is widespread and intensifying.

That’s according to new research from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The research predicts continued warming, which scientists tied to more intense rainfall events, flooding, droughts and sea level rise along coastal areas.

Local researchers say that’s a real threat to the Grand Strand area, but not only along the immediate coast.

“What’s happened in the last 10 years is a great amount more inland flooding,” Executive Director for the Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at CCU Dr. Paul Gayes said. “And you’re seeing it in the Midwest, all over the place.”

Dr. Gayes explained that predictions are becoming stronger with more data available.

“The predictions of difficult times ahead is a better prediction than it was even 5 years ago,” he said. “And so there’s a lot more reason to put more weight on to this and when you look at the outcomes of what’s to be expected, there are some serious costly challenges. We’re seeing them already.”

Dr. Gayes was in Murrells Inlet Tuesday as he looked for new places to put in a new water level station.

“We’ll be putting in around 50 or so of these real time reporting systems, focusing on the Grand Strand area and moving up the river basin,” Dr. Gayes said. “There’s more information, to be informed in real time but it also feeds the model systems to do a better job at predicting in the future.”

Horry County emergency management officials said studies like the U.N. one are taken into account as they prepare for future hurricanes.

“Studies like this add to some good situational awareness,” county spokesperson Thomas Bell said. “But it does not change what we preach which is preparedness for the different impacts that can come out of the different hazards that can impact us already.”

Researchers involved in the study urge a sustained and rapid decrease in greenhouse gas emissions to try and curb climate warming trends.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories