A study released Monday finds sea level rise along the southeastern US coast has accelerated rapidly since 2010, raising fears that tens of millions of American homes in cities across the South are threatened with flooding in the decades to come.
“It’s a window into the future,” Sönke Dangendorf, assistant professor of riverine and coastal science and engineering at Tulane University, co-author of the study that appeared in Nature Communications, told the Washington Post.
This paper and another published last month in the Journal of Climate find that sea levels along the Gulf Coast and southern Atlantic coast have risen an average of 1 centimeter per year since 2010. translates to almost 5 inches over the past 12 years, and that’s about double the average rate of global sea level rise over the same period.
The Journal of Climate study found hurricanes that recently hit the Gulf Coast, including Michael in 2018 and Ian – who was blamed in the deaths of 109 Floridians last year – had a more severe impact in due to sea level rise.
“It turns out that the water level associated with Hurricane Ian was the highest on record due to the combined effect of sea level rise and storm surge,” Jianjun Yin said. , a climatologist at the University of Arizona and author of the Journal of Climate Studies, told the Post.
Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the water level in Lake Pontchartrain, an estuary bordering New Orleans, is eight inches higher than it was in 2006. The other cities threatened by rising oceans in the region include Houston, Miami and Mobile. , To the.
The centimeter-per-year rate is much faster than experts predict, and it’s more in line with projections made for the end of the century, Dagendorf said. Flooding at high tide — when tides bring water to normally dry land on rainless days — has more than doubled on the Gulf Coast and Southeast Coast since the start of this century, according to NOAA. In recent years, high tide flood records have been erased. The town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi went from three days of high tide flooding in 2000 to 22 days in 2020.
A study by scientists from the University of Miami, NOAA, NASA and other institutions, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found that the elevation sea level in the southeast accounted for “30% to 50% of flood days in 2015-2020”.
“In low-lying coastal regions, even a few centimeters of seafloor rise can exceed regional flood thresholds and lead to coastal flooding,” the study said.