The state of Louisiana may not be in any immediate trouble, and it may not even end up affecting a lot of people currently living, but the state is in danger, and something needs to be done. Climate change is a serious situation that many people may not know much about, but when researchers put their minds together, they can figure out the pros and cons of it all. In this situation, there is a serious con, and it is that an entire state is sinking much more quickly than anyone realized.
A new study by the Geological Society of America has published research which states there are 274 locations along the coastal line of Louisiana that are sinking at a rate of nine millimeters per year. Give or take one millimeter in those calculations, the numbers are still quite staggering considering a previous study stated that anything more than eight millimeters per year was the worst it could get.
According to IFL Science, there is a difference in height in the various locations around the state, which is measured by using ground steel rods containing pins that have been in place for quite some time. As a matter of fact, they were first put in the ground anywhere from six to 10 years ago.
With those ground rods, researchers have been doing routine monitoring checks on the different height of the pins. Along with those measurements, there are 13 GPS stations underneath the surface about 50 feet, and those collect data on the sinking from a much lower level in the ground.
The group of Tulane University researchers wrote in their publication that “worst case scenarios should be considered the new normal when checking these sorts of things.”
The main problem figured out by the steel rods is that sediment deposition is causing some areas to get too much, and the ground simply can’t support it. Due to the weight of the additional sediment, those locations are sinking at a higher rate of speed.
In other locations, there is not enough sediment being spread around, and that has erosion taking away much larger pieces of land in a quicker fashion. This is causing great losses of Louisiana land in much less time than researchers thought possible.
As of now, the research team has primarily been focusing on the wetlands in the coastal areas. IFL Science reports that they have not yet looked into the urban, agricultural, and city areas due to the issue of artificial interference.
The study states that the new subsidence map they have created needs to be the first step in stopping Louisiana from sinking any further than it already has. Researchers state that “substantial efforts” are needed for the wetlands to help keep them from suffering further as they don’t know how severe it would get if things continued this way and moved toward urban areas such as New Orleans.
The marsh areas and wetlands of Louisiana are in a dire situation right now, but people may not realize the urgency needed to save them. It could very well be another 50 or 100 years before serious effects of the sinking and erosion are seriously felt, but by that point, it would be too late to stop it. If something is not done soon, Louisiana will continue to sink at a rapid rate.
[Featured Image by Chris Graythen/Getty Images]