News

Extreme floods to hit US cities almost daily by 2100

April 16, 2020 10:11 PM


Coastal cities in the United States could experience "once in a lifetime" extreme flood events almost daily by the end of the century if sea levels continue to rise at current rates, new research showed on Thursday.

Emissions from burning fossil fuels have already warmed Earth more than one degree Celsius above pre-industrial times, melting polar ice sheets and boosting global sea levels. With oceans predicted to rise by one to two metres by 2100, researchers in the US looked at the frequency of extreme water levels measured by 202 tide gauges along the US coastline.

They combined this data with various modelled pathways of sea-level rise to predict the rate at which flooding events may increase in future. The results were stark: at nearly three-quarters of the gauge locations the difference between average high tide and a once-in-50-years flooding event was less than a metre.

Most temperature scenarios predict sea-level rises higher than that. The team also found that the risk of extreme flood events will double every five years on average as seas get ever higher.

This likely means profound impacts on major US cities including Miami, Atlantic City and Charleston in the decades to come, the authors concluded.

"In the absence of adaptation measures, the rate of coastal hazard impacts will likely double every five years, and this is indeed quite problematic," lead study author Sean Vitousek, from the United States Geological Survey, told AFP. "Miami, Honolulu, Charleston, Atlantic City, and many other US cities currently experience minor flood levels during tides exacerbated by any storm conditions. "If sea-level projections hold, and in the absence of adaptation by 2050, this flooding will become much more widespread, frequent, and severe."

A special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year concluded that oceans could rise 1.1 metres by century's end. But Vitousek said rising oceans would cause "widespread disruption of transportation due to road closures during spring tides" much sooner, perhaps by 2050.   On current rising trends, by 2100 some areas of coastal cities would become "practically uninhabitable", he warned. 

"However, even before this point, large storm events plus sea-level rise would likely exceed the infrastructure's design conditions resulting in widespread damage," Vitousek said. "We're not ready, mentally or physically, for one metre of sea-level rise, but it's coming and probably sooner than we think."



Most Read

  1. Farmers can apply for Bardana through App from Saturday as Punjab starts wheat procurement campaign Farmers can apply for Bardana through App from Saturday as Punjab starts wheat procurement campaign
  2. Adil Raja loses pleas to dismiss Naseer’s defamation suits Adil Raja loses pleas to dismiss Naseer’s defamation suits
  3. Punjab students asked to get registered for getting petrol, e-bikes Punjab students asked to get registered for getting petrol, e-bikes
  4. Star woman cricketer Aliya Riaz ties the knot with Ali Younis in intimate Nikkah Ceremony Star woman cricketer Aliya Riaz ties the knot with Ali Younis in intimate Nikkah Ceremony
  5. ASF official who misbehaved with girl at Karachi airport likely to face music ASF official who misbehaved with girl at Karachi airport likely to face music
  6. Amir Tanba, linked to Indian spy Sarabjit Singh's jail killing, killed in Lahore Amir Tanba, linked to Indian spy Sarabjit Singh's jail killing, killed in Lahore

Opinion

  1. Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph
    Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph

    By Zulfiqar Ali Mir

  2. IMEC to sabotage CPEC
    IMEC to sabotage CPEC

    By Dr Asif Channer

  3. 1947 TO FORM 47
    1947 TO FORM 47

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....
    Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....

    By Ali Ramay

  5. Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses
    Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses

    By Ali Ramay

  6. Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan
    Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan

    By Dr Asif Channer