By 2050, huge areas of the US coast could be subject to more than 30 days of flooding each year, thanks to accelerating sea level rise from global warming. Recent data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association identifies 2050 as the “tipping point” for nuisance flooding, which refers to floods that see water levels 1 to 2 feet above local high tide. The NOAA says these tipping points will affect all US coastlines, and they’ll even be exceeded in many areas.
The NOAA‘s study was published in the American Geophysical Union’s online peer-reviewed journal Earth’s Future, in the paper “From the Extreme to the Mean: Acceleration and Tipping Points for Coastal Inundation Due to Sea Level Rise,” and presented at a news conference at the annual AGU fall meeting in San Francisco.
NOAA scientists William Sweet and Joseph Park set a frequency-based benchmark for the tipping points—when nuisance flooding occurs more than 30 times a year. “Nuisance flooding” is defined by the NOAA as flooding that causes “frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and compromised infrastructure”—which sounds a lot worse than a simple nuisance.
For mitigation, the NOAA recommends retreating further inland, coastal fortification or the use of natural resources like dunes and wetland, combined with sea walls and new storm water systems. Sounds like we’ve got our work cut out for us.
Via Science Daily
Images via Wikimedia Commons