Global Warming Will Buoy East Coast Sea Level

Altered Atlantic current means higher flood risk from Boston-DC
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2009 12:06 PM CDT
An iceberg melts in Kulusuk Bay, Greenland, in this 2007 file photo. That water will raise sea levels in more ways than one: It also changes ocean circulation.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The effect of climate change on Atlantic currents will boost the threat of flooding along the US East Coast more than glacial melting alone, a study predicts. New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, are expected to experience more shoreline encroachment and have higher risk of storm surges as changing currents push more water toward the eastern seaboard than toward Europe, Bloomberg reports.

To understand the circulation of the Atlantic, imagine stirring a bathtub full of hot and cold water: The surface will be higher in some places than in others. Melting glaciers add water that is less dense to the Atlantic's surface, which slows down the overall overturn. A study predicted up to 20 inches of sea level rise in New York.