Outer Banks Climate Change

While locals on the Outer Banks tussle over whether climate change is real and causing oceans to rise, the islands themselves are gradually, inevitably going under.

Everyone on the Outer Banks knows that the islands shift with the waves. It’s a geological process that erodes sand off their front and redeposits it on their backside. People used to routinely move houses, and even the highway, with it. They’ve moved the landmark lighthouse on Hatteras Island. But the modern, permanent infrastructure on the islands has interrupted that process. Add that to rising sea levels, and you’ve got an emergency on your hands.

While locals on the Outer Banks tussle over whether climate change is real and causing oceans to rise, the islands themselves are gradually, inevitably going under.

Everyone on the Outer Banks knows that the islands shift with the waves. It’s a geological process that erodes sand off their front and redeposits it on their backside. People used to routinely move houses, and even the highway, with it. They’ve moved the landmark lighthouse on Hatteras Island. But the modern, permanent infrastructure on the islands has interrupted that process. Add that to rising sea levels, and you’ve got an emergency on your hands.