The rising sea level is becoming more of a concern in New York City. People are not only concerned over the rising level, but also the rate at which it is rising. Many cities along the coastline are particularly vulnerable to this issue. Scientist Erin Thead wrote an article stating over the past two decades the sea level has risen 1/8 inch per year. Much of this is a result of the melting ice, the lack of refreezing and the increasing temperatures around the globe. According to predictions, by the year 2100, the sea level will rise another 6.6 feet. With rising sea levels, New York City is at risk for more flooding in the future. Thead also shows a map of the projected flooding for New York City and much of its coast lines will be affected.
Figure 2. Current and projected future flood risks for New York City assuming 2.5 foot sea level rise by 2050. Credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved from http://climate.org/sea-level-rise-risk-and-resilience-in-coastal-cities/
Along with the increasing sea level, there could be an increase in rainfall, river flooding, flash floods, and more. Because of rising sea levels, I believe it is important to take into consideration a thorough evacuation plan just in case of a natural disaster. While efforts to prevent further climate change will also help in the long run, it is just as important to know what to do when a disaster strikes at home. Many times, the lack of knowledge and planning will put the lives of many people in danger. For example, during hurricane Sandy many barriers were insufficient in preventing flooding. Con Edison’s power plant was submerged in a matter of minutes. Also, plywood and sandbags were the only defense for the subway system; a few of the many problems that took place throughout the city (New York Times, 2017). Many people were not prepared for Hurricane Sandy nor for the damage that exceeded the expectations of many residents affected. Houses along the coastline were destroyed, hospitals without power needed to be evacuated, and many neighborhoods throughout the boroughs were in chaos. This proved to the world that New York City was not prepared for any type of flooding or natural disaster. A hurricane like Sandy left the city in disarray, and would have lasting effects for the years that followed. Hurricane Sandy brought more attention to the issue of flooding than the news of global climate change. There’s always news about rising sea levels and how climate change can affect certain regions around the world, but little do people realize, that until a disaster strikes people are worry free and believe that it will not happen to them. It is unfortunate that it takes a disaster to implement change for vulnerable regions. For this reason, rising sea levels are going to be quite problematic in the future. Awareness needs to be emphasized and preparation needs to take place in order to preserve and protect our coastal cities.