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New York City to Experience 9-foot Floods 17 Times More Frequent Over the Next Century

Oct 12, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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New York City will be submerged in a 9-foot flood, or the same intensity of flooding brought by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, at least three to 17 times more frequently over the next century.
(Photo : Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A new study reveals that New York City will be submerged in a 9-foot flood, or the same intensity of flooding brought by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, at least three to 17 times more frequently over the next century.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the acceleration of sea-level rise due to global warming is one of the primary reasons for the more frequent occurrence of extreme flooding in New York City.

"The grand answer is that things are going to get worse by 2100," said Benjamin Horton, a professor of Marine and Coastal Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University and one of the authors of the study, in a press release. "If nothing changes with hurricanes, sea-level rise alone will increase the frequency of Sandy-like events by 2100."

Read: Leonardo DiCaprio's Documentary 'Before the Flood' Discusses Climate Change

For the study, the researchers analyzed historical data consisting of geological records from the same area going back to 1856. Additionally, they also looked into model projections consisting of future sea-levels, storm intensity as well as historical sea levels and storm surges.

The researchers found out that extreme flooding may have occurred once every 400 years on average under the sea-level rise conditions of 2000. However, human-induced climate change has accelerated the sea-level rise in the 21st century, making extreme flooding to be four times more probable.

Taking into consideration the possibility that the size, intensity and tracks of hurricane may change overtime, the researchers combined historical climate data and modeling of future climate conditions and storm surges. They found that possible changes in the size, intensity and tracks of hurricanes could reduce the probability of extreme flooding to three times. However, New York City will likely to suffer extreme Sandy-like flooding 17 times more frequent if this is the case.

With their findings, the researchers noted that future predictions are complex and can be changed. However, the researcher claim that things are only to get worse by 2100.

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