Along U.S. shores, a losing battle with rising seas

?Nuisance flooding? inundated the historic City Dock in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, several times this spring. REUTERS/Mary F. CalvertMissions flown from the NASA base here have documented some of the most dramatic evidence of a warming planet over the past 20 years: the melting of polar ice, a force contributing to a global rise in ocean levels.

The Wallops Flight Facility?s relationship with rising seas doesn?t end there. Its billion-dollar space launch complex occupies a barrier island that’s drowning under the impact of worsening storms and flooding.

NASA’s response? Rather than move out of harm?s way, officials have added more than $100 million in new structures over the past five years and spent $43 million more to fortify the shoreline with sand. Nearly a third of that new sand has since been washed away.

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