Rising sea levels to increase tidal flooding

11 July, 2019, 10:23 | Author: Darnell Taylor
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Government scientists predict 40 places in the USA will experience higher than normal rates of so-called sunny day flooding this year because of rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Wilmington had 14 days of high tide flooding in the past year.

The agency says the level of sunny day flooding in the USA has doubled since 2000.

"Once communities realize they are susceptible to high tide flooding, they need to begin to address the impacts, which can become chronic rather quickly", William Sweet, an oceanographer at NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and lead author of the report, said in a statement. "The impacts are here and now".

Coastal communities experienced a median of five days of high tide flooding a year ago, tying the record set in 2015.

The agency forecasts sunny-day flooding this year in Boston at 12 to 19 days (the city had 19 last year). Flooding in the Southeast is set to increase 190% since 2000 to a median of five days, and the western Gulf Coast is expected to increase 130% to a median of six days.

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"We can not wait to act", said Nicole LeBoeuf, NOAA's National Ocean Service acting director. "This issue gets more urgent and complicated with every passing day".

East Coast communities face the largest threats, according to the report.

NOAA's report predicts that in 30 years, the northern Outer Banks will have 55 to 135 days of high tide flooding, depending on greenhouse gas emissions.

High tide - or nuisance flooding - refers to flooding that happens at high tide in otherwise calm conditions. "The current trajectory suggests, let's say, a floodier future".

These events are "tightly coupled" with climate change, Sweet said.

The report predicted that annual flood records will be broken again next year and for years and decades to come from sea-level rise.

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