For the first time in 6,000 years sea level is rising, causing the shoreline to move inland. The move will continue for at least 1,000 years. Unless we change the trend of the planet’s heat balance the pace of this movement will accelerate, with disastrous results. We are totally unprepared for this situation.
A week before superstorm Sandy hit New York City my new book High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis was released. In the book, I describe exactly such a storm hitting that location. The point of my description was to examine the factors that made New York City and the surrounding area particularly vulnerable.
With Sandy there were four things that combined to increase the impact. First there was incredible size of the storm with the unusual track of southeast to northwest. Second, it came at lunar high tide, which is about a foot higher than average; third, sea level has risen about a foot in height over the last century; fourth, the underwater topography off New York harbor amplified the storm surge.… Read the rest