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Thursday, June 17, 2021

500-year floods about each 4 years? That may very well be Jamaica Bay’s future, examine says

If the world continues on its present path, Jamaica Bay might face devastating flooding about each 4 years sooner or later.

Reza Marsooli and co-author Ning Lin discovered that beneath a really excessive greenhouse fuel emissions state of affairs, uncommon flood ranges will turn out to be far more widespread within the bay throughout hurricanes. Marsooli says a “very alarming conclusion was {that a} 500-year flood stage in Jamaica Bay will turn out to be a 4-year flood stage by the top of the twenty first century.”

That signifies that the type of flooding beforehand seen on common each 500 years, like in Superstorm Sandy, will occur each 4 years or so as a substitute. Sandy value New York Metropolis $19 billion in injury and misplaced financial exercise, in keeping with the town, and had a devastating influence on Lengthy Island’s South Shore.

Their paper was revealed in November in Climatic Change. Marsooli is an assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Expertise in New Jersey whose analysis is principally targeted on flood hazards, flood mitigation and local weather change impacts. He stated Inwood and the east facet of Jamaica Bay, east of Kennedy Airport, are very susceptible to sea stage rise.

This interview has been edited and condensed. It discusses a consultant focus pathway, referred to as RCP8.5, which is a excessive greenhouse fuel emissions state of affairs. Professor Katharine Hayhoe, who codirects the Texas Tech College Local weather Heart, stated in an e-mail that “we’re nonetheless on an RCP8.5 pathway.” However she stated she very a lot hopes “that we are going to be bending away from it very quickly” — and that “primarily based on international locations’ commitments to the Paris Settlement there’s some foundation for that hope.”

NEWSDAY: Are you able to stroll me via the primary findings of your examine on Jamaica Bay?

MARSOOLI: We checked out hurricane flood hazards within the Jamaica Bay space in Brooklyn and the Queens space within the Jamaica Bay watershed. The aim was to have a look at the mixed results of sea stage rise and storm climatology change on flood hazards in Jamaica Bay. Our methodology was primarily based on numerical modeling, so we used dynamic fashions to simulate a lot of hurricane situations.

What we discovered was fascinating and really alarming, really. This examine was primarily based on the worst-case local weather change state of affairs. I imply a really excessive greenhouse fuel emissions state of affairs. It means there will not be any local weather mitigation.

NEWSDAY: That is the RCP8.5 state of affairs, proper?

MARSOOLI: Precisely. Utilizing the outcomes of our fashions, we concluded that primarily based on this excessive greenhouse emissions state of affairs, in Jamaica Bay a present 100-year flood stage [for the period 1980-2000] might be a 9-year flood stage in 2050, and a 1-year flood stage within the late twenty first century. It signifies that if a flood stage at the moment in Jamaica Bay has occurred on common each 100 years, that flood stage goes to happen on common yearly within the late twenty first century.

The primary reason behind this abrupt change is sea stage rise. We discovered that not solely in Jamaica Bay, however within the Northeast of the USA, sea stage rise is the primary reason behind enhance in future flood ranges. Hurricane climatology change additionally will contribute, however not as a lot as sea stage rise. The climatology of future hurricanes goes to vary due to international warming — however the influence on flood ranges within the Northeast shouldn’t be as a lot because the influence of sea stage rise.

One other very alarming conclusion was {that a} 500-year flood stage in Jamaica Bay will turn out to be a 4-year flood stage by the top of the twenty first century. It signifies that if we see a flood stage which happens on common each 500 years, like Hurricane Sandy, then we’ll see that flood stage each 4 years on common by the top of the twenty first century.

NEWSDAY: To linger on Superstorm Sandy, it was such a catastrophe for New York Metropolis and New Jersey and Lengthy Island, so it is simply onerous to think about that taking place each 4 years by the top of the century. However that is what individuals have to consider, proper?

MARSOOLI: Precisely. Underneath this excessive greenhouse fuel emissions state of affairs, we are able to see, with 50% probability, the ocean stage rise goes to be greater than 1 meter or 3 toes. Due to that enormous enhance within the imply sea stage, sooner or later we’re going to see a a lot greater flood stage throughout a storm, as a result of the imply sea stage goes to be greater, and if you happen to add a little bit little bit of storm surge on high of that, you will get a flood stage which might be virtually equal to Hurricane Sandy flood stage. However once more, this can be a very pessimistic projection, as a result of we’re taking a look at RCP8.5, and I am hoping that every one nations, together with the U.S., are going to take motion in opposition to local weather change, and we will mitigate the influence of local weather change. If there will not be any motion, then these nightmares will occur, really, by the top of the twenty first century.

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