Nowadays, environmental issues are receiving attention at the global level and efforts towards ensuring that the world is a better place for human habitation are being made. The world continues towards the threat of climate change with problems like global warming, greenhouse gas effects, wind storm, flooding, tsunami, hurricanes, pollution, volcanic activity, and sea level rise. These effects are global and there is no avoiding them but one of the biggest threats worldwide is sea level rise. The question is what makes sea levels rise and its effects on the East coast of North America.
According to Coastal Wiki, “the term sea-level rise generally designates the average long-term global rise of the ocean surface measured from the center of the earth (or more precisely, from the earth reference ellipsoid), as derived from satellite observations. Relative sea-level rise refers to long-term average sea-level rise relative to the local land level, as derived from coastal tide gauges.” I was reading some articles about sea level rise and found that it is happening all over the world especially in my native country, Bangladesh. Suddenly I realized that since I came to the United States; I have been living in New York City and since it is positioned at the meeting of the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean, I thought this city must be impacted by sea level rise.
Now, according to the website Sea Level Rise.org, in New York, the sea level has risen 9 inches in the last 68 years, which is very shocking for New Yorkers. Imagine what could happen in another 50 years. Researchers have found out that sea level rise has been increasing per inch every 7-8 years. The United Sates Global Research Program has estimated that sea levels will rise until 2080. According to researchers, by 2020 the sea level will rise 9 inches, by 2050 it’ll rise by 27 inches, and by 2080 it will rise by 53 inches.
According to The Verge, “The sea level is rising, but it’s not rising evenly. Over the 20th century, the water lapping New York City climbed 1.5 times faster than the global average, according to a report published last year. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if we imagine sea levels rising like water in a tub. This story is set against a backdrop of climbing global temperatures, which do a couple of things to the sea. Land ice melts and dribbles into the ocean, causing water levels to rise. Warmer waters also expand. ‘And that causes some amount of sea level rise as well,’ says Andrea Dutton, associate professor of geology at the University of Florida.”
If sea levels continue to rise, it will cause floods every five years in NYC. USA Today said this, “Rising sea levels from man-made climate change could prompt devastating, 8-foot floods that used to occur once every 500 years to happen once every 5 years by 2030 to 2045. “Flooding in the nation’s largest city will be much higher and more frequent because sea levels will continue to rise at an accelerating rate,” the study said. Five years ago, Sandy barreled into the Northeast, killing dozens of people and swamping parts of New York City under as much as 9 feet of water. In all, the storm caused $70.2 billion damage. Anywhere from 5 inches to 11 inches of sea-level rise is likely in New York City between 2000 and 2030, the study found. The researchers based their analysis on multiple models that factored in predictions for sea-level rise and possible changes in the paths of future hurricanes.”
As we know that every 7-8 years sea levels will rise one inch, so in 100 years the levels will rise by 14 inches. In the article “Here’s what NYC would look like if sea levels rise by 8 feet” by Ameena Walker, the writer explains that through the use of a software called Surging Seas: EXTREME SCENARIO 2100, we could envision what might happen in the future. The software, which creates maps of New York City, shows what areas may look like after they go underwater, such as, lower Manhattan, Greenpoint in Brooklyn, Liberty Island, and a few other areas.
Sea level rise poses a significant risk to New York’s people, resources, and economy, especially when the levels are rising as rapidly as they are. Even though solutions are not that simple, communities and individuals need science-based projections to evaluate risks and plan for adaptation. New York City is already planning to use 4 billion dollars in developing sea level rise solutions, which include raising roads, fixing drainage, and building seawalls.
Walker, Ameena. (2017, December 29). Here’s what NYC would look like if sea levels rise by 8 feet. Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://ny.curbed.com/2017/12/29/16830590/nyc-rising-sea-level-visuals-climate-central
GlobalChange.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://www.globalchange.gov
SeaLevelRise.org. (n.d.). New York’s Sea Level Is Rising. Retrieved April 08, 2019, from https://sealevelrise.org/states/new-york