U.S. Navy Must Prepare For Challenges in Warmer World, Study Says

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A warming world will pose major challenges to the U.S. Navy in the coming century, including the need to secure shipping lanes opened by the melting Arctic Ocean and a threat to $100 billion in Navy installations imperiled by rising seas, according to a report commissioned by the Navy itself.

The 15-month study by the National Research Council concluded that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that will require the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to significantly expand their missions.

These will include operating in Arctic areas once largely off-limits to surface ships, increasing disaster-relief missions to help people displaced by the major storms that are expected to become more frequent as global temperatures rise, and being called on to deal with growing political instability that could be caused by increasing drought and other climate-related upheaval.

Another important challenge is the impact of rising seas, which could force the Navy to relocate or protect many of its installations if, as expected, sea levels rise by three feet or more in the 21st century.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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