New York City will be underwater by 2100, according to scientists that have been working on a new study. Global warming, the floods and storm surges caused by climate change could potentially mean impending doom for the five boroughs of the Big Apple. Scientists are now predicting sea levels will rise by six feet by the end of the century.
Climatologists on the New York City Panel on Climate Change explained this is a worst case scenario, increased from a previous estimate of a maximum rise of two to four feet, surmised decades ago. The report also created new estimates on the increase in temperature regarding New York City in the next 80 years. They project a temperature increase of 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit and a tripling in the number of summer heat waves by 2080.
The report showed that the temperature in New York City’s Central Park has increased by a rate of 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit per decade from 1900 to 2013, equaling a 3.4 Fahrenheit rise overall. Though, the panel of climate change expert expects for multiple increases in the coming decades. They expect an increase of almost five degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 and nearly nine degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2080. Furthermore, they expect a one and half times increase of major storms and floods per year. The coastal boroughs of the low-lying areas of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are in jeopardy, according to scientists, storms could possibly alter local beaches and the coastlines, in general.
The report from the panel will be used to help plan for greenhouse gas emissions reductions within the boundaries of the city, thus making the environment better suited to make the shores of the boroughs more water-resilient to rising sea levels. Moreover, the study is aimed to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to revisit its 2013 preliminary flood insurance maps to be more in tune with New York City’s 100-year flood plan, roughly doubling the areas in question.
Kim Knowlton, co-author of the panel’s report and senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, stated the report is revolutionary because it extends further than previous research by going to the year 2100. Moreover, she explained FEMA will benefit from the study due to its kerfuffle of a response that left hundreds of thousands of people stranded after Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012.
Knowlton said she feels optimistic that New York city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, will take these reports seriously and implement new strategies to counteract the effects greenhouse gases are having on New York City and the sea levels around it. She believed the panel’s report is a fantastic plan, New York City, a nation leader in environmental cities, is at the forefront of shaping its environment for the impending disaster that climate change will possibly bring.
New York City’s mayor has made it clear that he is making the environment of New York City one of his main priorities for his term in office. He wants the entire population of New York City to work together to keep the Big Apple as safe as possible in regards to increasing amounts of storm surges and rising sea levels.
By: Alex Lemieux
Picture: Dave Bledsoe – Flickr License