Over its long history, the Earth’s climate and sea levels have varied greatly from what they are today. In the last century, both temperature and sea level have increased rapidly. In fact, the last decade has been the warmest on record, and the sea level is rising faster than it has in several thousand years. As carbon dioxide levels continue to increase due to man’s burning of fossil fuels, temperatures and sea levels are projected to increase still further. By the end of the 21st century, global temperatures are predicted to rise between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Centigrade (3.2-7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) , and sea levels could be over 1 meter (more than 3 feet) higher than they are today.
Rising sea levels pose several significant risks to coastal cities around the globe. These include rendering some residential areas either problematic, dangerous, or impossible; making some coastal highways susceptible to frequent flooding; inundating marshes that protect coasts from surges caused by tropical storms; disrupting plans for waste management by overloading sewers and storm drains; and requiring evacuation plans to be revised to accommodate changed conditions.
New York City is a large metropolitan area; it is also a coastal city. New York, together with its surrounding region, has recognized the environmental risks facing it. New York is already responding to them. The report of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, released in 2010, describes the remedial actions New York is taking.
To learn more about how sea level has changed over time and what New York City is doing to prepare for higher sea levels, please click on the link to the “Sea and Sky NY Blog”. There you will find a more detailed and comprehensive treatment of the topics introduced in this post.