Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sea Level Rise Due To Global Warming Poses Threat To New York City

Date:
March 16, 2009
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
Global warming is expected to cause the sea level along the northeastern US coast to rise almost twice as fast as global sea levels during this century, putting New York City at greater risk for damage from hurricanes and winter storm surge, according to a new study.

New York Skyline. Global warming is expected to cause the sea level along the northeastern U.S. coast to rise almost twice as fast as global sea levels during this century, putting New York City at greater risk for damage from hurricanes and winter storm surge.
Credit: iStockphoto/Klaas Lingbeek- Van Kranen

Global warming is expected to cause the sea level along the northeastern U.S. coast to rise almost twice as fast as global sea levels during this century, putting New York City at greater risk for damage from hurricanes and winter storm surge, according to a new study led by a Florida State University researcher.

Jianjun Yin, a climate modeler at the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State, said there is a better than 90 percent chance that the sea level rise along this heavily populated coast will exceed the mean global sea level rise by the year 2100. The rising waters in this region -- perhaps by as much as 18 inches or more -- can be attributed to thermal expansion and the slowing of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation because of warmer ocean surface temperatures.

Yin and colleagues Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ronald Stouffer of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University are the first to reach that conclusion after analyzing data from 10 state-of-the-art climate models, which have been used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Yin's study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"The northeast coast of the United States is among the most vulnerable regions to future changes in sea level and ocean circulation, especially when considering its population density and the potential socioeconomic consequences of such changes," Yin said. "The most populous states and cities of the United States and centers of economy, politics, culture and education are located along that coast."

The researchers found that the rapid sea-level rise occurred in all climate models whether they depicted low, medium or high rates of greenhouse-gas emissions. In a medium greenhouse-gas emission scenario, the New York City coastal area would see an additional rise of about 8.3 inches above the mean sea level rise that is expected around the globe because of human-induced climate change.

Thermal expansion and the melting of land ice, such as the Greenland ice sheet, are expected to cause the global sea-level rise. The researchers projected the global sea-level rise of 10.2 inches based on thermal expansion alone. The contribution from the land ice melting was not assessed in this study due to uncertainty.

Considering that much of the metropolitan region of New York City is less than 16 feet above the mean sea level, with some parts of lower Manhattan only about 5 feet above the mean sea level, a rise of 8.3 inches in addition to the global mean rise would pose a threat to this region, especially if a hurricane or winter storm surge occurs, Yin said.

Potential flooding is just one example of coastal hazards associated with sea-level rise, Yin said, but there are other concerns as well. The submersion of low-lying land, erosion of beaches, conversion of wetlands to open water and increase in the salinity of estuaries all can affect ecosystems and damage existing coastal development.

Although low-lying Florida and Western Europe are often considered the most vulnerable to sea level changes, the northeast U.S. coast is particularly vulnerable because the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is susceptible to global warming. The AMOC is the giant circulation in the Atlantic with warm and salty seawater flowing northward in the upper ocean and cold seawater flowing southward at depth. Global warming could cause an ocean surface warming and freshening in the high-latitude North Atlantic, preventing the sinking of the surface water, which would slow the AMOC.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yin et al. Model projections of rapid sea-level rise on the northeast coast of the United States. Nature Geoscience, March 15, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo462

Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Sea Level Rise Due To Global Warming Poses Threat To New York City." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090315155112.htm>.
Florida State University. (2009, March 16). Sea Level Rise Due To Global Warming Poses Threat To New York City. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090315155112.htm
Florida State University. "Sea Level Rise Due To Global Warming Poses Threat To New York City." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090315155112.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
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