Rising sea levels triggered by global warming threaten New York

March 16th, 2009 - 11:46 am ICT by IANS  

New York, March 16 (IANS) Global warming is expected to raise sea level along the northeastern US almost twice as fast as that elsewhere during this century, exposing New York City to greater risk for damage from hurricanes and winter storm surge.
Jianjun Yin, climate modeller at the Centre for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State University, said that the sea level rise along this heavily populated coast will exceed the mean global sea level rise by 2100.

The rising waters in this region - perhaps by as much as 18 inches or more - can be attributed to thermal expansion and the slowing of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation because of warmer ocean surface temperatures.

Yin and colleagues Michael Schlesinger of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ronald Stouffer of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab at Princeton University are the first to reach that conclusion after analysing data from 10 state-of-the-art climate models.

They have been used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Yin’s study, “Model Projections of Rapid Sea Level Rise on the Northeast Coast of the United States”, has been published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“The northeast coast of the United States is among the most vulnerable regions to future changes in sea level and ocean circulation, especially when considering its population density and the potential socioeconomic consequences of such changes,” Yin said.

“The most populous states and cities of the United States and centres of economy, politics, culture and education are located along that coast,” he said.

The researchers found that the rapid sea-level rise occurred in all climate models whether they depicted low, medium or high rates of greenhouse-gas emissions, said a Florida release.

In a medium greenhouse-gas emission scenario, the New York City coastal area would see an additional rise of about 8.3 inches above the mean sea level rise that is expected around the globe because of human-induced climate change.

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