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Earth Science

Rising Seas Set To Double Coastal Flooding By 2050, Says Study (phys.org) 206

Coastal flooding is about to get dramatically more frequent around the world as sea levels rise from global warming, researchers said Thursday. Phys.Org reports, "A 10-to-20 centimeter (four-to-eight inch) jump in the global ocean watermark by 2050 -- a conservative forecast -- would double flood risk in high-latitude regions, they reports in the journal Scientific Reports." From the report: Major cities along the North American seaboard such as Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with the European Atlantic coast, would be highly exposed, they found. But it would only take half as big a jump in ocean levels to double the number of serious flooding incidents in the tropics, including along highly populated river deltas in Asia and Africa. Even at the low end of this sea rise spectrum, Mumbai, Kochi and Abidjan and many other cities would be significantly affected. To make up for the lack of observational data, Vitousek and his colleagues used computer modeling and a statistical method called extreme value theory. "We asked the question: with waves factored in, how much sea level rise will it take to double the frequency of flooding?" Sea levels are currently rising by three to four millimeters (0.10 to 0.15 inches) a year, but the pace has picked up by about 30 percent over the last decade. It could accelerate even more as continent-sized ice blocs near the poles continue to shed mass, especially in Antarctica, which Vitousek described as the sea level "wild card." If oceans go up 25 centimeters by mid-century, "flood levels that occur every 50 years in the tropics would be happening every year or more," he said.

Rising Seas Set To Double Coastal Flooding By 2050, Says Study

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  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by helpfulcorn ( 668048 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @03:19AM (#54446957) Homepage Journal
    Interesting I was just talking to my wife about how with the rise of the ocean you could/would have to turn Manhattan into a new Venice, and with our apartment being on the 10th floor, we may be sitting on some water-level real estate. The worst part is it's only half a joke and a real future issue to deal with, just look at what happened with the subways during the last major storm, it doesn't take much of a rise to sink the city.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It doesn't help that as a background signal NYC is sinking about a foot a century due to isostatic rebound since the end of the last ice age. And that the gravity fed sewers and storm drains were built more than a century or two ago.

      • "It doesn't help that as a background signal NYC is sinking about a foot a century due to isostatic rebound since the end of the last ice age."

        Probably not that much. But it is probably sinking. Nothing obviously wrong with the notion of glacial isostasy. But the numbers look to be hazier than most folks assume. Sometime in the next decade or two we'll probably have the solid GPS derived estimated of Battery tidal gauge elevation change accurate to say 100 microns. Then (and likely only then) will we k

    • Correction that was James Hannsen I always do that for some reason

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )

      turn Manhattan into a new Venice

      On the plus side, at least significant portions of Manhattan are build on solid bedrock. Venice, not so much: most of those buildings have a foundation of timber piles...driven into clay...in a lagoon.

      On that subject, writer Kim Stanley Robinson has a new book about a Venice-like NYC [google.com]. Here is an overview and interview with the author. [sciencefriday.com]

    • Interesting I was just talking to my wife about how with the rise of the ocean you could/would have to turn Manhattan into a new Venice

      It won't. Modern engineering can easily deal with this.

      Keep in mind that what you think of as "Manhattan" is constantly being rebuilt from the ground up anyway, so even if you (hypothetically) needed to raise every building by a few feet over the next 100 years, that wouldn't be a problem.

    • The fact is that NO city, ever, was built for permanence.

      They exist for one reason: convenience. They are (generally) opportunistic agglomerations of people in time around wherever it happened to be easiest to unload/drop that heavy shit we were carrying from some other place.

      They are, like all human creations, ephemeral. Sure, the timeframe may exceed human lifetimes, but with the success of humanity some of our oldest continually-inhabited places are now THOUSANDS of years old.

      Ironically, the *oldest* p

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Although climate change (specifically global warming) is happening (unless you deny the laws of chemistry and physics), it's probably too late to realistically do anything about it. The real problem isn't the warming, it's the positive feedback -- warmer air holds more water vapor which is also a greenhouse gas, warmer temperatures melt the polar ice packs exposing darker ground/water, warmer temperatures unfreeze once frozen swampland which releases methane (and more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2), etc.

    • Add to all of the above that the CO2 currently in the system is so diffused (roughly 400 parts per million) that I don't know of any human technology that could possibly make a dent in the CO2 concentrations on a global atmospheric scale.

      You don't use human technology. You use plant technology. We have the technology to replace 100% of our transportation fuels, for example, with carbon-negative (there is waste and you compost it) fuels like butanol and green diesel. We have the technology to replace 100% of our use of wood for construction with bamboo, which grows rapidly and therefore fixes carbon rapidly. If the whole planet were land and you could plant the whole thing in bamboo then you would only need one crop to fix all the excess env

  • "we theorize, speculate, and focus on the worst-case scenario"

    Yea, and I can get back to something more certain and true, like CNN or Facebook.

  • A 10-to-20 centimetre (four-to-eight inch) jump in the global ocean watermark by 2050—a conservative forecast—would double flood risk in high-latitude regions, they reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

    Using "would" suggests incorrectly that there is any choice about it. Sea level rise of that magnitude is inevitable, no matter what policies we adopt, so we better learn to deal with it.

    Coastal flooding, on the other hand, is something that's humans have dealt with for all of our existence

  • I still find it disappointing that there would be climate deniers. Yeah sure the sea is going to rise a 1/2 foot, no big deal... Well first of all, what's causing the 1/2 foot rise in oceans if there isn't climate change. It's like saying, oh well I feel healthy and I can't possibility have cancer even thou my doctor is telling me all his blood tests are coming back positive, it's a conspiracy by the doctors to make more money!

    Humans are also inherently less than pro-active on many many issues wanting to

  • by mpercy ( 1085347 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @03:07PM (#54450421)

    Haven't we heard something like this before?

    Every time I see alarmist stuff like this, all I can think of is this:

    Hypothesis and Disproof

    “2006: Expect Another Big Hurricane Year Says NOAA”—headline, MongaBay .com, May 22, 2006
    “NOAA Predicts Above Normal 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season”—headline, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration press release, May 23, 2007
    “NOAA Increases Expectancy for Above-Normal 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season”—headline, gCaptain .com, Aug. 7, 2008
    “Forecasters: 2009 to Bring ‘Above Average’ Hurricane Season”—headline, CNN, Dec. 10, 2008
    “NOAA: 2010 Hurricane Season May Set Records”—headline, Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.), May 28, 2010
    “NOAA Predicts Increased Storm Activity in 2011 Hurricane Season”—headline, BDO Consulting press release, Aug. 18, 2011
    “2012 Hurricane Forecast Update: More Storms Expected”—headline, LiveScience, Aug. 9, 2012
    “NOAA Predicts Active 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season”—headline, NOAApress release, May 23, 2013
    “A Space-Based View of 2015’s ‘Hyperactive’ Hurricane Season”—headline, CityLab .com, June 19, 2015
    “The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Might Be the Strongest in Years”—headline, CBSNews, Aug. 11, 2016
    “NOAA: U.S. Completes Record 11 Straight Years Without Major Hurricane Strike”—headline, CNSNews, Oct. 24, 2016
    NOTE: the NOAA is The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a scientific agency within the Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere.

    For more “Best of the Web” from The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto

    I'm sure that *EVENTUALLY* they'll get one right...2016 was the "strongest in years" but was still pretty much meh, except for Matthew's impact on Haiti.

    Actual activity in 2016: 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 4 CAT3+

    Average (1981–2010[1]) 12.1, 6.4, 2.7
    Record high activity 28, 15, 7

    • Of course, you're talking about weather predictions, which are very different from climate predictions. A climate prediction would be something like "the 2020s will see significantly more hurricane activity than the 2010s", and that's cutting the time slices rather fine.

  • If you really think rising sea levels is a fraud, you'd be buying up beach-front property at cents on the dollar from the chumps who believe it.

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