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...

Oceans

Scientists are discovering that narwhal tusks reveal a great deal about…

Climate

Climate change is bringing earlier, dangerous 'false springs', longer summers…

Wildlife

A victory for conservation, South Africa has announced plans to…

Energy

The UK has made little progress decarbonising heating, but a significant source…

Nature

The concept of 'natural capital', where the value of nature…

Geophoto

Prestigious photography competition returns for a fourth year

Climate

Founded in the USA by Denis Hayes, Earth Day became…

Geophoto

Tom Goldner's project Do Brumbies Dream in Red? is an intimate portrayal…

Wildlife

Not your usual tune: translating spider's silk into sound could…

Oceans

Millions of oysters have been rescued from the struggling shellfish…

Climate

History is littered with examples of fungi helping to digest…

Geophoto

The streets of Philadelphia are home to a small and forgotten…

Geophoto

When photographer Matthew Maran first snapped a fox he had…

Wildlife

Coloradans have voted to reintroduce grey wolves to the state

Energy

Covid-19 provides an opportunity to re-assess the supply chains of…

Geophoto

Andrea DiCenzo is a photojournalist, who has covered conflicts for…

Oceans

Field observations of corals around the world reveal that not…

Climate

The Great Plains of the USA are once again getting…

Climate

Attempts to build a digital twin of the Earth could…