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Sunny Day Flooding in Miami Photo: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its annual report on high tide (a.k.a. sunny day) flooding and found that high tide flooding happens twice as often as it did in 2000 due to sea-level rise. Nineteen cities and towns along the East and Gulf Coasts broke or tied their all-time high tide flooding days records in 2019 including multiple locations along the Texas coastline, as well as at Miami, Savannah, and Charleston. In ten years, if we do not adapt and find a way to manage coastal areas for flooding, the high tide flooding days nationwide are likely to double or even triple.
Why This Matters: We must control greenhouse gas emissions, but that alone is not enough to deal with the climate crisis we already have — it’s impacting property access and value, causing business disruption, and harming public health. As the report says “Sea level rise flooding of U.S. coastlines is happening now, and it is becoming more frequent each year.” Here’s the kicker: NOAA’s “National Weather Service is issuing record numbers of watches/warnings for coastal flooding, often with no storm in sight. This will become the new normal unless coastal flood mitigation strategies are implemented or enhanced.”
Current Flooding Is Increasing
E&E News reported via Scientific American that the past year came close to breaking a record for high-tide flooding days — the prior record was set only a year earlier in 2018. According to the report, there were 602 high-tide flooding days last year—nearly three times as many occurred in 2000, according to NOAA flooding records. “There’s been a dramatic change in less than two decades,” Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, told E&E News yesterday.
Future of Flooding
“This is the new normal. It’s a floodier future,” NOAA oceanographer William Sweet said to E&E News. “It’s this drive in sea-level rise that is really pumping up the water levels and causing more flooding to occur.” By 2050, the situation gets much worse. NOAA’s report projects huge spikes in the number of days that communities will experience sunny day floods, which can be nearly as damaging as hurricane-related flooding because of its repeated inundation of streets, sewers, buildings, and basements. On average, coastal communities are projected to have 25 to 75 high-tide flooding days by 2050, but some areas — like Louisiana’s southeast coast — will have much higher numbers — between 145 and 270 high-tide flooding days a year in 2050, NOAA projects. And in major cities on the East Coast — New York City; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Providence, R.I.; and the Norfolk, Va — could see as many as 100 days (more than 3 months) of sunny day flooding by 2050.
Tatiana Schlossberg reports for The Washington Post about the potential of seaweed to dramatically reduce methane emissions from cows. It turns out that Asparagopsis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata — two species of crimson submarine grass — can reduce those emissions by 98% when just a small amount is added to their food. Now several companies are working […]
ABC News reports that there is a creeping underground invasion of our coasts, and it is moving inland much faster than had been previously thought, according to new research funded by the National Science Foundation. The stealth invader? Saltwater, which is infiltrating our coastal communities and creating unseen risks well in advance of the surface floods that drown our homes and businesses.
Why this Matters: This problem will become more and more common as climate change continues, causing widespread displacement across the world.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer According to a 2020 U.N. environmental report, seagrass “prairies” play a massive role in the health of the world’s oceans and if nothing is done to stop their decline, the world will face serious consequences. Seagrasses support rich biodiversity that sustains a whopping 20% of the world’s fisheries, and […]
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