DATE: March 28, 2018
SNIP: By 2100, a new NOAA report says, “high tide flooding will occur ‘every other day’ (182 days/year) or more often” even under an “intermediate low scenario” in coastal areas along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. This scenario works under the assumption that greenhouse gas emissions — which warm the climate and speed up sea-level rise — are curbed.
For a more aggressive “intermediate” scenario, in which greenhouse gas emissions carry on at today’s pace, high-tide flooding is forecast to occur 365 days per year.
The prospect of high-tide flooding occurring every day or even every other day late this century is difficult to fathom.
Michael Lowry, a visiting scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, expressed shock on Twitter after seeing these projections. “It’s hard to overstate the significance of this,” he said. “That isn’t even the intermediate high, high, or extreme scenarios that bring us 365 [days per year] high tide flooding in my lifetime. It’s crazy.”
Astrid Caldas is a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists who tracks the effects of sea-level rise at the coast and is extremely worried about the projected flooding increases.
“By mid-century, the frequency of this type of ‘minor’ flooding would become so disruptive that business as usual would be practically impossible without significant adaptation measures,” Caldas said. “Without planning for flooding with measures such as protecting, elevating, accommodating the water, or even moving stuff out of the way, the impacts on the cities, their economy, and their residents would be immense.”