Flood Study Finds 'Things Are Going to Get Worse'

Scientists say floods will be far more frequent in 80 years
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2016 6:05 PM CDT
Flood Study Finds 'Things Are Going to Get Worse'
Peter Cusack, center, and Mel Bermudez walk their dogs Teague, left, and Molly along the Brooklyn waterfront beneath the New York skyline as Hurricane Sandy advances on the city, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

More grim news from researchers using computer model projections and historical data to predict future weather changes. Scientists at Rutgers University, Princeton University, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that, based on the accelerated rate of climate change in recent years, intense floods like the one caused by Hurricane Sandy will be at least three times more likely by the year 2100 as they are today, and that they could break particularly badly against New York City, making it up to 17 times as likely to experience such a flood by the year 2100. "The grand answer is that things are going to get worse by 2100," one researcher says in a press release. "It's just a question of how much worse it will get. There is no happy scenario."

Previous research has shown that, using historical patterns in the millennium between 850 and 1850 compared to the late 20th century, there has been a 20-fold increase in the frequency of extreme floods, largely due to rising sea levels. Now researchers report that while historic sea-level rise was largely due to natural events such as gradual land sinking following the Ice Age, the recent rise is due in large part to human-caused climate change and will make superstorms more common. Area residents tells CBS Local that Sandy was "absolutely horrifying" and "devastating," and the researchers warn that such storms, expected once every 400 years in the year 2000, are likely to jump as high as once every 20 years by the year 2100. (Here's the big worry Hurricane Matthew left in its wake.)

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