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11 Mar 2011: U.S. Navy Must Prepare For
Challenges in Warmer World, Study Says

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. 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.


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