Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

US coastal regions under threat of increased flooding

Flooding in Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy Flooding in Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy Anton Oparin/Shutterstock
22 Dec
2014
A new report into sea level rises claims that by 2050, regular flooding will threaten most US coastal areas

2050 will mark the ‘tipping point’ in coastal flooding in the US, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose research says that nuisance floods – defined as being one to two feet above local high tide – will occur 30 or more times a year in most coastal areas by the mid-century.

East coast cities will need to improve flood defences sooner than expected, according to the research, with New York City and Washington DC among cities that can expect more nuisance floods. The research excluded the Miami area due to insufficient data.

Cities with increased flood risk
Boston
New York City
Philadelphia
Baltimore
Norfolk, Virginia
Wilmington, North Carolina
Galveston Bay
Port Isabel, Texas
San Diego/La Jolla
San Francisco Bay Area

 

‘Coastal communities are beginning to experience sunny-day nuisance or urban flooding much more so than in decades past,’ said William Sweet, an oceanographer who co-authored the study. ‘This is due to sea level rise. Unfortunately, once impacts are noticed, they will become commonplace rather quickly.’

NOAA tide gauges show that daily flooding at new levels is already five to ten times more likely today than 50 years ago.

‘We find that in 30 to 40 years, even modest projections of global sea level rise – 1½ feet by the year 2100 – will increase instances of daily high tide flooding to a point requiring an active, and potentially costly response, and by the end of this century, our projections show that there will be near-daily nuisance flooding in most of the locations that we reviewed,’ Sweet added.

The research used the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change projections, which put sea level rises at 1½ to 4 feet by 2100. These were combined with local geographic information, such as subsidence.

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Climate

A review of climate crisis coverage in the global media…

Oceans

Marco Magrini looks at the carbon capturing power of the ocean’s…

Oceans

Marine Protected Areas are designed to benefit the marine ecosystem…

Climate

The link between China’s economic growth and increased pollution has…

Climate

An analysis of nine year’s worth of lightning data, covering…

Climate

When getting on ‘board’ with sustainability is the entire goal

Oceans

Many scientists believe that jellyfish numbers are increasing, pointing to…

Geophoto

Prepare to be inspired, startled and filled with awe in…

Climate

Excessive use of nitrogen-based fertilisers is contributing to numerous environmental…

Energy

A group of scientists from Edinburgh University has come up…

Geophoto

​This year’s winning environmental photographs show the impacts of the…

Wildlife

A WWF report has revealed that global forest vertebrate populations…

Climate

Yesterday saw one of the biggest public protest movements in…

Climate

On the eve of millions of world citizens going on…

Wildlife

Around 75 million birds are kept as pets in Indonesia,…

Wildlife

Migratory animals are actively adjusting their traditions to cope with…

Climate

How many trees can you plant in a day?

Polar

New analysis of NASA data has led to the discovery…

Climate

Naomi Klein is back and calling for a new world…

Geophoto

The move away from film has meant more pictures being…