The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just reported that the sea level is rising faster than expected in the northeastern United States and other specific regions. As climate change worsens, the global sea level could rise by eight feet before the year 2100. Researchers predict that flooding will become increasingly common in some regions, including major northeastern cities. The findings were just published in a paper titled “Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States.”
Climate change, which scientists agree is mostly driven by human activity, is causing a global warming. This leads to a rising sea level throughout the planet, driven by two major events. One such event is the melting of land ice, which adds to the amount of water in the ocean. Mountain glaciers and ice sheets are rapidly melting, flowing into the sea. This is actually more dangerous than the melting of floating icebergs and other forms of sea ice. Melting sea ice doesn’t contribute much to the rising sea levels though it can result in habitat loss for some animal species. The second event leading to rapidly rising sea levels is the expansion of saltwater as it gets warmer. While climate change causes a number of problems, rising sea levels pose a serious threat to coastal towns and cities.
Scientists from the NOAA and a number of universities, including Rutgers and Columbia, prepared a report on possible climate change-fueled scenarios that may occur in the near future. After extensive research, the authors found that the global sea level is rising more rapidly than previously believed, especially in the northeastern United States. In one simulated scenario, the sea level could rise eight feet by 2100. This would have major impacts on a number of large coastal cities, including New York City. Other specific regions, such as the Gulf of Mexico, would be similarly affected. These regions will experience high sea levels earlier than other parts of the world and will be at risk of major flooding. The authors recommend immediate action to plan for these events.
The NOAA report details all possible scenarios that may be caused by climate change. Although the worst case scenario references the year 2100, the paper’s authors emphasize that serious flooding may start as early as 2030 in some coastal areas. Coastal cities and towns will need to begin planning for regular flooding if the sea level continues to rise as projected.
“GLOBAL AND REGIONAL SEA LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS FOR THE UNITED STATES.” NOAA Technical Report (2017).