Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Orleans ... The New Atlantis?

Date:
January 21, 2000
Source:
University Of New Orleans
Summary:
With predicted sea level rise, wetland loss, subsidence, and the absence of restoration programs, the future of New Orleans appears bleak. Research from University of New Orleans scientists examine the processes driving catastrophic coastal conditions and the breakdown of the Mississippi River Delta.

With predicted sea level rise, wetland loss, subsidence, and the absence of restoration programs, the future of New Orleans appears bleak. Research from University of New Orleans scientists examine the processes driving catastrophic coastal conditions and the breakdown of the Mississippi River Delta.

(New Orleans) -- By the year 2100, the city of New Orleans may be extinct, submerged in water. A future akin to the fabled sunken city of Atlantis? Yes, according to Dr. Chip Groat, Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Washington, D.C., "With the projected rate of subsidence (the natural sinking of land), wetland loss, and sea level rise," he said, "New Orleans will likely be on the verge of extinction by this time next century."

University of New Orleans coastal geologist Dr. Shea Penland and coastal geomorphologist Dr. Denise Reed have spent their careers (combined 40 years) figuring out exactly what is driving this catastrophic condition. Their research has identified the specific problems jeopardizing the future of New Orleans and southern Louisiana. "We have the greatest coastal land loss problem in North America. This is more than a serious problem . . . it's a catastrophic one. We're living on the verge of a coastal collapse," warns Dr. Penland.

Currently, 40% of all coastal wetlands in the United States are located in Louisiana, and 80% of all wetland loss in our nation occurs in Louisiana. From 1930-1990, the Mississippi River Delta lost more than 1,000 square miles of land.

Over the last 50 years, land loss rates had accelerated from 10 miles to 40 miles per year by the 1970s, with the current rate being approximately 25 square miles or 16,000 acres of wetlands a year. Coastal Louisiana is poised to lose more than 10,000 acres per year for the foreseeable future.

New Orleans is sinking three feet per century--eight times faster than the worldwide rate of only 0.4 feet per century. Currently, New Orleans, on average, is eight feet below sea level--11 feet in some places.

Many of the low-lying barrier islands will disappear by 2050.

UNO scientists suggest that, without appropriate restoration efforts, Louisiana faces continued wetland loss, the deterioration of the Mississippi River Delta (the largest and most economically profitable in the nation), and the possible collapse of the entire ecosystem.

However, Penland, Reed, and other researchers have shown that the coastal ecosystem, while damaged, is sufficiently intact for restoration efforts to succeed in managing the problem. They, along with other University of New Orleans scientists, continue to work in close concert with state and federal agencies to create, evaluate, and monitor restoration strategies and coastal management solutions. There work is included in: the Coast 2050--a new multi-agency, $14 billion restoration report/plan for coastal Louisiana.

Today, Penland, Reed and other university scientists continue to work on the issue: restoring barrier islands; working on a $5 million contract with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to document and assist in the beneficial use of dredge material; studying the biochemistry of the waterways; detecting and measuring water stratification such as that associated with the "Dead Zones" offshore in the Gulf; engaged in the long-term establishment and preservation of grassbed populations; designing restoration projects; training the next generation of students with coastal restoration courses; and much more.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of New Orleans. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of New Orleans. "New Orleans ... The New Atlantis?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000121071306.htm>.
University Of New Orleans. (2000, January 21). New Orleans ... The New Atlantis?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000121071306.htm
University Of New Orleans. "New Orleans ... The New Atlantis?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000121071306.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins