The South is not going to rise again!

Seventy miles south of New Orleans, on the eastern end of Grand Isle, a small tide gauge records the Gulf of Mexico rising against the surrounding land.

The monthly increases are microscopic, narrower than a single strand of hair. Climate scientists recording those results think they add up to something huge.

The gauge, they say, may be quietly writing one of the first big stories in the age of global warming: the obituary for much of southeast Louisiana.

In 50 to 100 years, the numbers tell them, rising seas caused by global warming, combined with the steady subsidence of Louisiana’s coast, will lift the Gulf of Mexico two to six feet higher in many areas surrounding New Orleans.

“This area is facing big trouble from climate change. I think there’s consensus on that point,” said Virginia Burkett, a senior researcher at the National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette and one of the nation’s foremost experts on climate change.

The Times-Picayune, 13 Dec 2008