'Surging Seas': N.J. in top 5 states most threatened by rising sea levels, study says | Science updates | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.


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'Surging Seas': N.J. in top 5 states most threatened by rising sea levels, study says

BY ANGELA DAIDONEfloodsign_HowardLake_0317_opt

The waters are rising, and New Jersey coastal communities are right in their course.

study by a Princeton-based research group lists the Garden State as one of the top five states most threatened by rising sea levels which are increasing the likelihood of more catastrophic tidal flooding during storms, the Press of Atlantic City reported.

The study, titled "Surging Seas," said the seas are predicted to rise about 15 inches by 2050 in Atlantic City and Cape May. As a result, storms that used to be considered once-in-a-lifetime events will happen more frequently, the study said. Cape May and Atlantic City may see levels rise by half a foot by 2030, the study stated.

Researchers based their findings on current census population, existing topographical maps and digital map analysis showing inundation zones by each foot of water above the current average high tide line.

Of the 22 coastal states, Florida and Louisiana have the largest number of people at risk of being affected by sea level rise. New Jersey ranked fifth. Recent storms have seen an increase in severe flooding, impacting residential communities, major roads and businesses.

The combination of flooding from storm surges on top of an increased base sea level would put more than 200,000 people and 160,000 homes at risk in New Jersey, the study stated.

Storm surges from northeasters differ from hurricane and tropical storm surges, particularly because there is a limit to how high the water can reach, said a researcher at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. A northeaster storm surge only will reach about six feet, but will last much longer. A hurricane can bring a more localized high surge, but the coastal flooding will last only a short time, the report stated.

What's at stake in the long run is the main concern of the findings, experts said. Ratables and tourism dollars in vacation communities, residential property values, and beaches and natural coastlines will likely take a big hit if the issue is not addressed on a wide scale, experts said.

Comments (2)
2 Wednesday, 28 March 2012 14:00
Joseph Barone
Fossil Fuels are indeed a concern when the corporations that own the plants from which they are utilized to generate power are either reluctant to or refuse to upgrade said facilities to meet and exceed EPA Clean Air standards. As an employee of PSEG, I am extremely proud to state that over the past decade, our company has invested over 1.2 billion (thats right billion) dollars in upgrading several of our Coal Fired Generation Plants, such as Mercer Generation Station in Mercer County NJ, recently found to be one of, if not the, cleanest coal buring plant in the United States. Not simply meeting, but exceeding governmental and regulatory expectations for clean air emissions. These facts should stand as a testament to the resolve of PSEG to generate and supply power and electricity to meet its unrelenting and exponentially growing demand, while putting forth an unequaled effort to fight the causes of Global Warming. Your statement "protecting short term profits of fossil fuel companies" is indeed a vague generalization, one of which does not take into consideration the efforts of many power companies such as PSEG to supply our country with unquestionably necessary power generation while remaining at the forefront of designing, constructing and utilizing technologies ensuring that same power generation is performed with the greater good of Mother Earth at the apex of all actions and intentions.
1 Sunday, 18 March 2012 13:46
Thomas Manaugh
Clearly, protection for low-lying lands -- be it New Jersey, Louisiana or Kiribati -- is needed because of rising seas from global warming. As events continue to point to global warming as an existential threat to all species, including humans, public opinion will come to demand solutions. Proposed solutions involving unsafe and unproven technologies (e.g., "clean" coal) are wrong-headed and unnecessary. Could proven off-the-shelf technologies slow glaciers' melting and halt global warming?

The west slope of Antarctica is ground zero for concern about significant, rapid sea level rises because of melting of the southern polar ice cap, where 80% of the Earth's glacier ice is stored. A very ambitious and action-oriented proposal is offered at http://dolphinblueinc.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/proposed-effort-to-slow-melting-of-glacier-in-antarctica/ for how melting of ice in Antarctica could be slowed. The proposed solution would be extraordinarily costly, but the costs would be smaller than the ultimate price of inaction.

If every nation in the world would accept global warming as an existential threat, solutions could be implemented that are commensurate with the threat. A budget of $2 trillion per year (approximately what is spent on wars and military preparedness) would do the job. See http://www.dolphinblue.com/pg-Update--Energy-Island-a-Solution-to-Global-Warming.html for an update on the feasibility of an ocean-based solution to global warming that uses proven technologies.

Long-term, global warming could be a blessing if it forces people to stop fighting and to start cooperating. That has happened before when enemies have become allies to counter a common threat. Our leaders should stop partisan bickering and running interference for protecting short-term profits of fossil fuels companies. Rather, they should look at global warming as a problem so serious it requires a worldwide turn in consciousness toward cooperation and peace. They should start now.

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