Flooded Battery Park Tunnel after Hurricane Sandy. Image: Timothy Krause via Flickr.
With the October 29th anniversary of superstorm Sandy approaching and storms leaving the world’s coastlines waterlogged, 6sqft recently covered a new report predicting rising sea levels and a growing flood risk. Now a new study, published Monday, found that New York is almost halfway through a 500-year span of rising seas that began in 1800–and the worst is yet to come. But according to the Washington Post, this increased likelihood of flooding has a silver lining.
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Density of population and infrastructure in the projected 2050 floodplain. Image: RPA.
Hurricane season is impossible to ignore, and as the October 29th anniversary date of Superstorm Sandy approaches, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has released a report titled “Coastal Adaptation: A Framework for Governance and Funding to Address Climate Change” that warns of the imminent threat of rising sea levels and outlines a strategy to protect the many vulnerable stretches of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. According to the report, 59 percent of the region’s energy capacity, four major airports, 21 percent of public housing units, and 12 percent of hospital beds will be in areas at risk of flooding over the next 30 years. RPA research found that even in light of these projections, the region’s climate change planning tends to be reactive and local rather than pro-active and regional–and it’s not nearly enough.
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Hurricane Sandy damage in Breezy Point, Queens
With the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaching, many New Yorkers are still reeling from its devastation; in fact, the city recently allocated another $500 million in taxpayer money for repairs due to storm damage. And though this seems grim, a new study from a group of researchers at Princeton and Rutgers universities and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is even more troubling. Based on a storm-related computer simulation of flooding, “Hurricane Sandy’s Flood Frequency Increasing From Year 1800 to 2100” predicts that in a worse-case scenario, by the year 2100, such powerful storms will occur every 20 years, an increase of 17 times the current state, reports Phys.org.
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With increasing concerns about rising sea levels and the large quantity of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere, Radley Horton‘s work is more important than ever. As a climate scientist at Columbia University, he’s working on the applied end of climate change by examining data to make projections about the possibility of extreme weather events. Based on the data and ensuing models, he then considers the impacts these potential events and the overall changing climate might have in a variety of contexts that range from airports to the migration of pests. Radley is on the forefront of understanding what might happen and how cities, countries, and other entities can prepare even in the face of uncertainty.
6sqft recently spoke with Radley about his work, areas of climate concern in New York, and what we all can do to combat a changing planet.
Read the full interview here