NJ flood mapper: A new tool for coping with sea-level rise

Mar 07, 2013
Massive destruction in Union Beach caused by Hurricane Sandy ripped the home off its' foundation and deposited it, whole, in a near-by marshy area. Credit: FEMA

(Phys.org) —If sea level rises as scientists predict, will your New Jersey home or parts of your town be underwater?

Rutgers University and the have unveiled an online that offers a disturbing look at which parts of the state are in danger of severe flooding if the ocean and bays continue to rise as expected. That map shows where schools, hospitals, fire and police stations are in the flood zones and illustrates the vulnerabilities posed by future .

The goal of the project is to help towns and counties prepare for rising sea level.

"While sea level rise is a , adapting to its impacts is a local decision-making challenge that is going to require site-specific remedies," said Richard Lathrop, professor of environmental sciences and director of the Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis. "Hurricane Sandy showed us that local land-use planners and managers need access to detailed, information about what and who may lie in the path of – and the path of high tides and storm surges built on top of those new, higher sea levels."

With NJ Flood Mapper, anyone can simulate sea level rises of from one foot (the rise many scientists expect in the next 50 years) to six feet. The user can see the advisory based flood elevation information recently released by the that shows what areas are vulnerable to , and 100-year and 500-year-flood information. Maps depicting areas affected by Hurricane Sandy's storm surge are also  included. In addition, the tool allows a user to display the location of key buildings like hospitals, firehouses, and schools. Finally, NJFloodMapper will also show which communities are most vulnerable to the effects of sea level and flooding – not just because of their location, but because of the age and relative poverty of their people. Poverty can affect a community's ability to prepare for storms and rebuild afterwards. NJFloodMapper also includes "street views" at selected locations, that demonstrate what sea level rise will look like from 1-6 feet.

Lathrop and his colleagues at the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis created NJFloodMapper in collaboration with NOAA's Coastal Services Center. Lisa Auermuller, watershed coordinator for the Rutgers-managed Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, organized discussions with municipal and county level officials to provide data for NJFloodMapper, as well as sessions in which officials tested the tool. This project was funded by NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology, Sustainable Jersey, New Jersey SeaGrant, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

NJFloodMapper has been more than three years in the making. Auermuller said she and Lathrop involved local and county officials from the beginning. "We didn't assume that 'if we built it, they will come,'" she said. "We listened to what they wanted, and included that in the project, so we knew the finished product would be useful."

The officials were helpful and enthusiastic, she said, but were more focused on flooding – something they dealt with routinely – than rise. Hurricane Sandy, however, made them much more conscious of what a foot of could do to their communities.

Explore further: Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

More information: njfloodmapper.org/

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ScooterG
1 / 5 (3) Mar 07, 2013
"If sea level rises as scientists predict, will your New Jersey home or parts of your town be underwater?"

I was not aware that *all* scientists predict sea levels will rise. Am I wrong? or did physorg try to slip some more bias bullshit in on us?
Sepp
1 / 5 (2) Mar 21, 2013
Bias bullshit in my book.

Sea leval rise is so small (about 3 mm a year) that we'd need a hundred years to reach 30 cm and there is no certainty that that will ever happen. What if it gets colder again?

There hasn't been, apparently, any appreciable (air) temperature rise for now about 17 years, so why would sea level continue rising over the next century?

I believe we know too little to say with certainty that sea levels will actually continue to rise for long enough to make a difference.
Maggnus
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2013
How is it that the same multiply debunked, untruthful misrepresentations get repeated over and over as if the poster has some fantastical new insight into the science behind global climate?

Every new climate change "disbeliever" who comes along starts off by repeating the same tired cliches and same old tired nonsense. Its like there's a plague of stupid gripping the planet.

so why would sea level continue rising over the next century?


Because ice from many sources over the whole planet is melting, and running down into the oceans. That makes them rise. Add to that thermal expansion from heat loading in the oceans, which also makes them rise. Lots is known about it. Try doing a little reading.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2013
High tide also makes sea level rise and all these GW Alarmist stories conveniently omit, that this was the fact in this case.
Maggnus
5 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2013
High tide also makes sea level rise and all these GW Alarmist stories conveniently omit, that this was the fact in this case.


Wow. Just - wow.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2013
High tide also makes sea level rise and all these GW Alarmist stories conveniently omit, that this was the fact in this case.


Wow. Just - wow.

Careful, don't want to blow that lone brain cell.
Maggnus
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2013
Awww thanks againstseeing, I appreciate that you care! :) Better hurry back into that bunker now, big bad Gore is coming to get you.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2013
Awww thanks againstseeing, I appreciate that you care! :) Better hurry back into that bunker now, big bad Gore is coming to get you.

Gore is a Turd hunter and he's already got you worshiping him, while he is living it up in his mansion on the millions he's made of GW.

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