The Month’s Biggest News Probably Isn’t What You Read

month's biggest news

Photo by Mark Ralston (NOLA.com)

OK class, today’s quiz involves news judgment. Which of these stories was the most important information for Louisiana and the nation over the past two weeks:

The fight over President Donald Trump’s border wall; the special counsel investigation into Trump’s campaign; a confrontation between high school students and Native American protesters; singer R. Kelly’s sexual abuse of young girls; a college dancing video (and all other things) by rookie Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; which actors got snubbed in the Academy Award nominations; the Rolling Stones coming to Jazz Fest, and the Saints getting screwed in the NFC title game?

Well, none of the above. (Sorry, Who Dats.)

Instead it was this: Louisiana’s coast (and many others) are likely to be submerged much faster than thought just a year ago. What’s that? You never saw those headlines?

No surprise.

Hardly anyone noticed because in today’s news business ecosystem editors provide readers what their clicks say they want most. That’s why on most sites this life-changing news was played well down the home page or buried many clicks deep inside. It was as if Hurricane Katrina had formed off the coast, but no one wanted to interrupt the latest Hannity or Maddow shows.

So, as a public service, here is a sample of the potentially life-changing news you likely missed.

— New research shows oceans are warming about 40 percent faster on average than previously thought, a finding researchers said could contribute a foot to sea level rise by 2100 because it could mean thermal expansion of oceans will accelerate.

That’s alarming news for Louisiana’s effort to save its sinking bottom third and could result in dramatic changes to projects in its coastal master plan, which is based on those previous sea level rise projections. Those old reports called for as much as three feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. When added to projections of deltaic subsidence in this region, that could mean a rise of 5 feet in a region with an average elevation of 2.5 feet to 3 feet.

— A new study found the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet, one of the major contributors to sea level rise, is happening much faster than previously thought, and may now be unstoppable, resulting in a more rapid acceleration in sea level rise than predicted over the next 20 years. That’s terrible news for all coastal communities, but a potential stopper for Louisiana’s current plans because they are based on projections that existed just two years ago.

Read the rest of the article at The Times-Picayune.

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