New York Could Flood In 100 Years
A Discovery Channel News Brief

Within the next 100 years, much of the New York metropolitan area will probably be under water because of global warming, according to a new Columbia University study.
Subways, airports and low-lying coastal areas could experience flooding if global warming produces more violent storms and higher sea levels, as expected, based on research conducted by Vivien Gornitz of Columbia Univeristy and associated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
"Local temperatures could rise by as much as four degrees Fahrenheit, and sea levels could increase by up to eight inches by 2030 and by as much as four feet by 2100, under the most extreme scenarios," Gornitz said.
Models developed by Dr. Gornitz show local sea-level rises, ranging from four to eight inches by 2030, and maximum coastal flood heights of nearly six feet, an increase of nearly a foot from current levels. That means that any area below six feet above sea level would be vulnerable to flooding, including most of the lower Manhattan shoreline and other portions of the metro New York City area.
The northeastern United States is dropping by about one millimeter a year, offsetting a rise in southern Canada, which was previously compressed by glaciers. Local geological factors elsewhere may mitigate rising sea levels.
"Scientists and policymakers may quibble over details, but when all models show significant sea-level rises, it's time to pay attention," said Dr. Gornitz.
Gornitz suggested that state and local planners start thinking about countermeasures now.
The Columbia scientist says areas that are just above sea level, including parts of lower Manhattan and New Jersey, could be protected with seawalls, regional airports raised above expected flood levels and pumping systems installed in subway systems.
Dr. Gornitz presented the findings during one of a series of events sponsored by the federal government to assess regional vulnerability to climate change. The results, with reports from 18 other regions, will be presented to Congress and the president by 2000.

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