New York City can expect 9-foot floods, as intense as that produced by 2012's Superstorm Sandy, at least three times more frequently over the next century - and possibly as much as 17 times more frequently
New York City can be flooded to the depth of 9 feet in the times to come. That would equal the havoc and chaos unleashed by 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. The frequency of these floods may be three times that of those that occurred in the past.
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This number could go up depending on the circumstances. It could consist of 17 times as many floods. A study was conducted on the issue. It was a mix of historical information and computer model projections.
Tidal gauge records were taken from New York City and they went back all the way to 1856. Also geological statistics dating back two millennia were collected.
The main question happens to be how often floods like Sandy will occur in the future. Due to sea level rise a 20-fold increase in extreme floods took place between 850 and 1850.
Throughout history, the sea level rise was due to natural phenomena such as the land which was sinking slowly. This was an effect of the last Ice Age. In the 20th century though climate change caused by human activity was a major cause of this sinking of the land.
Floods of the intensity of Sandy would have occurred once every 400 years or so. By the time 2100 arrives, things will get pretty chaotic. Even if hurricanes are few and far between, sea level rise alone will cause such events as transpired during Sandy to occur more often during the next 100 years.
Yet the dimensions, intensity and traces left behind by hurricanes may undergo alteration. The goal is the creation of precautionary measures so as to cause flood mitigation. The queries to take into consideration are “What will happen?” and “What are the extreme probabilities?”
One thing to remember is that projections are not necessarily predictions. Whatever that will happens may also not happen. It all depends on the factors that go into the mix. Yet overall, things are expected to get worse during the next century or so.
This study, conducted by Rutgers University, Princeton University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists, got published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.