A study released last week shows that coastal cities in 2050 may see as much as 30 days of flooding annually.
As most major news sources in the United States are located in coastal cities with the exception of CNN (Atlanta) it will be interesting to see how long climate change and global warming deniers will continue to ignore science and environmental reporting.
Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, better known as NOAA, released a study late last week that shows a number of cities are in big trouble from rising sea levels caused by global warming. The “tipping point’ is often referred to as when flooding affects cities for at least 30 days each year. If that is the measure, a number of cities are already in trouble.
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The Tipping Point
Annapolis; Wilmington, N.C.; and Washington, D.C., are already there and they will likely be joined by Baltimore, Atlantic City and Port Isabel, Tex., and four others before the end of the decade. But what is truly scary is the fact that by 2050, they will be joined by nearly every coastal city in the continental United States no matter what which ocean’s coast they are located. Somewhat ironically, Miami doesn’t make the study because Hurricane Andrew destroyed NOAA tide stations in the area in 1992.
Presently, these coastal cities are already experiencing the aforementioned flooding at a rate of 5 to 10 times more likely than just 50 years ago and it is only getting worse.
“Coastal communities are beginning to experience sunny-day nuisance or urban flooding, much more so than in decades past,” said William Sweet of the NOAA, a co-author of the study which appeared Thursday in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
“This is sea level rise. Unfortunately, once impacts are noticed, they will become commonplace rather quickly,” he said. “We find that in 30 to 40 years even modest projections of global sea level rise … will increase instances of daily high tide flooding to a point requiring an active, and potentially costly, response.”
This isn’t a “shock and awe” study but the result of studying 50 years of data from NOAA’s tidal gauges and present estimates of sea level rise.
“The importance of this research is that it draws attention to the largely neglected part of the frequency of these events. This frequency distribution includes a hazard level referred to as ‘nuisance’: occasionally costly to clean up, but never catastrophic or perhaps newsworthy,” said Michael Ellis, Head of Climate Change Science at the British Geological Survey in Nottingham, United Kingdom.
NOAA: The need for planning and study
As a result, coastal communities whom certainly can’t reverse global warming are going to have to spend considerably more time looking at these studies in the coming years.
“As communities across the country become increasingly vulnerable to water inundation and flooding, effective risk management is going to become more heavily reliant on environmental data and analysis,” Holly Bamford, NOAA acting assistant secretary for conservation and management, said. “Businesses, coastal managers, federal, state, and local governments, and non-governmental organizations can use research such as this as another tool as they develop plans to reduce vulnerabilities, adapt to change, and ensure they’re resilient against future events.”