NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New alarming research is now out about rising sea levels and it’s much worse than expected. So what does that mean for the folks living along the coast?
Let’s talk about facts. The world is warming, storms are becoming more severe, but the steady constant issue now is the rising ocean waters, which could inundate our Connecticut coastline, and it’s happening faster than you might think.
Sandy, Irene, Donna, Carol, and the hurricane of 1938. all massive storms that caused catastrophic flooding along the shoreline of Connecticut. When we think flooding, we think hurricanes, but a recent study at Rutgers University is shedding light on an alarming statistic that will change the coastline of Connecticut much faster than initially expected.
Jennifer S. Walker, Ph.D., Laboratory Research Associate, Rutgers University, “One, we have these increasing rates of sea-level rise. It’s this acceleration that’s important. And then also what’s causing that acceleration and that’s that global component because of climate change.”
Let’s break down the math. Over the last almost 2,000 years, the oceans have been rising. Blame nature, melting ice, and sinking land. That rate… a measly 1.1 mm a year. The problem is, over the last 1,200 years, that rate has nearly doubled and the mean sea level is now a foot higher than it was under 100 years ago.
That means a house built in 1920 with three feet of height over the beach is now flooding at least twice every month. And so are the roads. We see this during big storms, small storms, and even on regular days and the effects are visible already to residents of the shoreline.
Patrick Rowland, East Haven Resident added, “It just seems to me that it’s more and more and more prevalent. Another foot higher, another half a foot and we start to wonder. You know, I get my rubber boots out.”
And research shows that this rate of sea-level rise is going to get worse before it gets better.
“It just increases our base for coastal flooding events. An increased frequency of coastal flooding events and then also potentially an increased magnitude with these events as well,” Nelson Vaz, National Weather Service.
This means more flooding and more destroyed homes, and land that will continue to become underwater moving the coastline inland more and more every year.
What’s causing it? According to experts, in a word… us. It all comes back to increased greenhouse gas emissions from humans causing climate change.
So how do we fix this? Laws need to be changed, buildings need to be built away from the water and higher, and most importantly, we need to do our part to help reduce what we pollute to help keep our coastline right where it is.