The Surfing Scientists of Narragansett, Rhode Island

The Surfing Scientists of Narragansett, Rhode Island


This morning I got into the water, did a little
bit of surfing. It’s pretty much my passion outside of my work. The conditions are very wintery, we have some sleet and snow coming down. The waves are about 3 to 4 feet, pretty
good surf for Rhode Island. My research is in coastal dynamics, in coastal erosion, basically the history of sea level. We’re on the southern shore of Rhode Island, we’re at a beach called Matunuck. It’s a rocky cobblestone type of surf spot, it produces very excellent waves. It’s a place that’s very popular for surfers. Surfing is a strong culture here in Rhode Island. We’ve got a strong community. You wouldn’t think such a small state would have such a dedicated group of surfers, but any time the waves are up we’re on it. We tend to be the face of the ocean. People
flock to the oceans to see what’s going on, and we’re out there. I’d like to tell you
we’re a handsome group. Over the past 35 years we’ve seen some pretty
significant changes, here in our coastline. It’s not anything that the ocean is doing
on purpose other than it’s doing what it does. Coastal erosion is a big problem in Rhode
Island. It’s kind of a sand-starved environment. We don’t have a lot of sand being replenished
onto our beaches both at a policy level as well as just naturally. To me coastal change and climate change are inextricably linked. There are definitely connections between climate change and coastal change. Sea level rise is going to be a huge
factor for New England. As Antarctica melts, sea levels will rise around the world. And
it just so happens being further away is actually a bigger problem. Since New England is so
far away from Antarctica we’re gonna see more rise from the melting of the Antarctic. Over my shoulder you can see that we’ve got a sandy beach, you can see that we got some
rocky outcroppings. That sandy beach and rocky outcropping streched out a hundred yards
30 years ago. Right now this beach is probably maybe 10 yards wide at best. As sea level rises, we’re going to see increased rates of erosion. The surf is going to change
as well, it gonna create kind of permanent high tide conditions.
Barrier beaches that exist right now will no longer be barrier beaches. Coastal ponds
will no longer be coastal ponds, they will be part of the ocean. As climate change occurs,
ocean rise occurs, then I expect to see dramatic differences in the way we use our coast. It’s going to take stuff out that has been there for a long time. Now whether that’s natural
or man built, doesn’t matter. It’s gonna go away.

Antonio Breitenberg

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5 thoughts on “The Surfing Scientists of Narragansett, Rhode Island

  1. Brendan says:

    Maybe Whitehouse will downsize to a condo to help minimize his carbon footprint. Dont hold your breath.

  2. Tim W says:

    Rhody always makes ya dream and never fails to let ya down! Dribble to the 7th parallel!

  3. Alt Facts News says:

    Interesting story lads… ever been in Motif Magazine?

  4. Paul Lamontagne says:

    Kook

  5. Juicey says:

    2 seasonal townies get air time for what….tar sands?

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