Select Page

SOURCE: Boston Globe

DATE: January 6, 2018

SNIP: With its gradually sinking, low-lying lands, and development right up to the water’s edge, Boston has long been considered uncommonly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

But that long-term climate forecast became bracingly immediate on Thursday when a powerful winter storm, of a type known to meteorologists as the bomb cyclone, whipped up a record tide that sent waves surging through the streets of downtown Boston.

City officials have begun planning for the worst in recent years, driven by projections that as much as 30 percent of city land could be submerged by the end of the century. Still, many were stunned by the sight of water inundating large swaths of the city’s waterfront Thursday, even as they warned that it could become all too familiar in the years to come.

A 2016 study by scientists at the University of Massachusetts and other local universities found that consequences of climate change could prove more calamitous to Boston than previous studies have suggested.

That study found that sea levels could rise 10 feet by the end of the century and 37 feet by 2200 — nearly double what had been previously predicted. That projection was based in part on new research that suggests the accelerating melt of the ice sheets covering Antarctica will have a disproportionate impact on cities along the East Coast.