How many times have you seen a movie where New York City is attacked by monsters, a giant marshmallow man or consumed by a massive tidal wave? Well, the last one may not be so ridiculous as an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that rising sea levels could affect The Big Apple more than many other cities in the world. Back in 2007, the panel said that sea levels would rise at least 28cm (1ft) by the year 2100, but they have said this a global average and different regions will see varied rises. While many scientific teams have said the IPCC’s figure is a huge under-estimation, there is no dispute that some cities will be hit harder than others, and it appears New York is near the top of the list.
The team’s research revolves around ocean currents and differences in the temperature and the salinity of seawater. These factors can affect how much sea levels can rise, especially if regions such as the Arctic Ocean become less saline and discharge massive ice sheets into the sea.
“Everybody will still have the impact, and in many places they will get the average rise,” said Roderik van der Wal from the University of Utrecht, who is presenting the team’s regional projections at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna. “But places like New York are going to have a larger contribution than the average – 20 percent more in this case – and Reykjavik will be better off.”
According to the Dutch team’s research, New York, along with Vancouver, Tasmania and The Maldives, are forecast to see above-average impacts. Why these cities?
Well, it seems that the further away you are from melting ice sheets, the greater the effect. This is because ice sheets such as those on Greenland or Antarctica gravitationally attract the water. The water is pulled towards the coast, where it essentially piles up. As the ice continues to melt, the sea levels begins to rise further.
“If the Greenland sheet melts more, that’s better for New York; but if Antarctica melts, that’s worse for New York – and it’s equally true for northwestern Europe,” Professor van der Wal told BBC News.
Good news for Reykjavik though. The Greenland capital is closest to the Artic Circle and is expected to receive less than half the global average sea level rise.
via BBC News