Sea Level Rise Due to Global Warming Poses Threat to New York City

New York City

( -- Global warming is expected to cause the sea level along the northeastern U.S. coast to rise almost twice as fast as global sea levels during this century, putting New York City at greater risk for damage from hurricanes and winter storm surge, according to a new study led by a Florida State University researcher.

Jianjun Yin, a climate modeler at the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State, said there is a better than 90 percent chance that the rise along this heavily populated coast will exceed the mean global sea level rise by the year 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 because of warmer ocean surface temperatures.

Yin and colleagues Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ronald Stouffer of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University are the first to reach that conclusion after analyzing data from 10 state-of-the-art , which 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,” will be published online March 15 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 centers of economy, politics, culture and education are located along that coast.”

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. In a

medium greenhouse-gas emission scenario, the 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.

Thermal expansion and the melting of land ice, such as the Greenland ice sheet, are expected to cause the global sea-level rise. The researchers projected the global sea-level rise of 10.2 inches based on thermal expansion alone. The contribution from the land ice melting was not assessed in this study due to uncertainty.

Considering that much of the metropolitan region of New York City is less than 16 feet above the mean sea level, with some parts of lower Manhattan only about 5 feet above the mean sea level, a rise of 8.3 inches in addition to the global mean rise would pose a threat to this region, especially if a hurricane or winter storm surge occurs, Yin said.

Potential flooding is just one example of coastal hazards associated with sea-level rise, Yin said, but there are other concerns as well. The submersion of low-lying land, erosion of beaches, conversion of wetlands to open water and increase in the salinity of estuaries all can affect ecosystems and damage existing coastal development.

Although low-lying Florida and Western Europe are often considered the most vulnerable to sea level changes, the northeast U.S. coast is particularly vulnerable because the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is susceptible to . The AMOC is the giant circulation in the Atlantic with warm and salty seawater flowing northward in the upper ocean and cold seawater flowing southward at depth. Global warming could cause an ocean surface warming and freshening in the high-latitude North Atlantic, preventing the sinking of the surface water, which would slow the AMOC.

Provided by Florida State University

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Mar 13, 2009
Hahaha, this is the biggest load of crap ever. OO Scary! The water will rise a little in 100 years! Its not a flood. Its not sudden. If it takes 100 years we have 100 years to build a sea wall around it and get on with our lives. Big bad global warming thwarted by human ingenuity once again..

Mar 13, 2009
Just think about all the construction jobs this will create around the world. This is great! Put's people to work.

Mar 13, 2009
Sure, the data shows no increase in the rise rate since the industrial revolution from what the rise rate has been over the last thousand years, but who needs yucky boring data when we have these really cool-looking government-funded real-time 3D computer models! BOY am I glad I've no choice in funding these models--otherwise I might do something FOOLISH with my money.

Mar 13, 2009
I dunno... 18 inches in just under a century... i don't think we'll be able to protect new york if it's gonna come flooding in that fast...

Mar 13, 2009
I will firmly agree to argue in defense of many of the environmentalists and ecological conservationists as they are willing to be conservative in usage and application of our non-renewable resources. This makes great sense in all manner of behavior.

My issues are those which apply scientific facades to promote a concept so that governments or groups of persons with ideological goals may manipulate another group. This is of course, the same as any religious group applying an ideological pressure on another group as to motivate their behavior in a certain moral direction.

If you want to argue that an idea or goal has benefit and or merit then by all means lets discuss the issues and show the logic of a decision to change a goal or outcome.

But, lets act upon the virtue of the merit of truth and not the rectification of an answer. Sometimes the answer is not immediately available based on a limited set of facts and at times it may be important to make decisions without all the facts as a first best guess. This perhaps is the case in the Global Warming issue.

To those who hold the capacity to rationalize and apply true science and the proverbial 'scientific method' ...Grow some balls and resist the 'church of dogma' ... It's OK to say: " We just don't have enough data".

Mar 13, 2009
Funny guys here. What is being missed is that scientists are very conservative by nature. We are moving into an unknown situation, and conservatively, speaking, the N Atlantic ocean levels are going to rise 18". Oh, and that is without any ice melt at all.... just thermal expansion and regional conditions.
What is the ice melt going to add. How much? We just don't know. But we do know there land and sea ice melting is happening. Will it accelerate? Will it stop? Open questions. But....

Mar 13, 2009
BTW, to those with a few minutes, look at:
and consider if the volume of the oceans has been approximately the same and land mass, plus the likelyhood that Earth has seen higher temps then why does the chart look like this?

Mar 14, 2009
another example of global warming hype. global warming is fake. and for all you AGW believers, I will type this slowly .... This was made up to gain money and power, this is the great conspiracy you have been looking for. and you are part of it.

Mar 14, 2009
When New Yorkers start getting wet socks let me know. Or that Sydney Oprah House that is right about at sea level. Any day now. Any day now.

Mar 14, 2009
If you listen to what Edgar Cayce predicted (He was the modern day Nostradamus. (look him up if you don't know him.)

He stated that the global sea level was going to rise drastically and that most of the worlds current landmasses would be underwater. New York City would be completely demolished and is being rebuilt, and WW III is being fought not on land, but mainly on sea. Also at this time the public is using what he called: "Strange Flying Metal Cigar Shaped aircraft" which goes along with UFO reports

Edgar didn't know what Global Warming was or what a UFO was...

Here is some of what he predicted:
America's entry in WWII
Hitlers Fall
Great Depression
... a lot more but I will leave you people to look it up....

Mar 14, 2009
Well I say that instead of building levies to keep the sea out of New York City that we instead build a wall around all of New York City except for the side facing the sea and let the ocean wash the cesspool out.

Mar 14, 2009
lol I'm glad I live on the 9th floor of my building in NYC...

Mar 15, 2009
Clearly this is just another example of scientists using scare tactics to make money! Please people, stop listening to scientists! They don't care about us and our comfy lives, they want us to look ahead and consider the future. This madness must stop!

If you want REAL knowledge about climate you should listen to Glen Beck or other media personalities because they know how to talk to us and they care.

Mar 15, 2009
That'll be financial crisis II

Mar 15, 2009
another example of global warming hype. global warming is fake. and for all you AGW believers, I will type this slowly .... This was made up to gain money and power, this is the great conspiracy you have been looking for. and you are part of it.

Global warming denialism is religious fantasy, a childish fairy tale that appeals to self-centered narcissists, shallow materialists, anarcho-capitalists, free market theologians, anti-science religious extremists, and other such lunatics who place their own personal religious/political/economic ideology ahead of valid empirical science.

Mar 15, 2009

The "explicit proofs" you are looking for are the thousands of peer reviewed scientific studies showing accelerating glacier and ice shelf melting, arctic and antarctic ice melting, increased green house gases of multiple kinds, decreasing ability for the ocean or land carbon sinks to absorb the increase, coral reef acidification, world wide changes in growing seasons, and increases in ocean height and decreased salination.

Contrary to what common sense would say, these changes will have a huge effect. While changes have happened in the past, they often happened much slower than change is happening now. When they didn't they often did lead to catastrophic changes which took hundreds of years, or in the case of mass extinctions, millions of years to recover from. The idea that changes have happened before so who cares if they happen now completely ignores the fact that we didn't need the planet to support 6 billion people before. Small reductions in rain fall, ocean currents, and weather can lead to major reductions in food production and fresh water availability in large parts of the world.

The idea that this is all a conspiracy of environmental and climate scientists is utterly ridiculous. Scientists are as competitive as anyone. Their isn't some worldwide collusion of scientists going on. In fact, the problems are likely to be much worse than any one scientist predicts, because each of these scientists is only making predictions based on the particular aspect they are studying, not taking into account multiple effects outside their expertise. This is good conservative science, but not always clear to non-scientists, who interpret scientific papers the way they would a news article or press release.

Mar 15, 2009

dont think for a minute that desire for grant money isn't affecting research papers especially in a field with so much hype and so little real understanding of all the factors controlling our climate.

Mar 15, 2009
also, are we supposed to take seriously the idea of: "The concept of delaying global warming by adding particles into the upper atmosphere to cool the climate". Or how about covering the arctic in reflective material?? teehee

Mar 16, 2009
A friend thinks that warmists don't have the brains of a shit maggot. I think they do.

Mar 16, 2009
mikiwud, what the hell kind of comment is that?

All I know is that the 'warmists' as you call them are consistently wrong. oh, and its not global warming anymore, its climate change since the earth hasn't been warming like they thought it would. the 'changists' have a point of view and theories to support their ideas. So do other scientists who choose to question the rush to conclude that man is now the primary factor in climate change. Calling scientists who question AWG as 'deniers' is so childish. As if how dare they question the AGW THEORY. Since when are theories imune to valid questions? AGW is not a fact. its not a 'law', like the laws of thermodynamics.

I think we would all like someone on either side to PROVE something, not just hypothesize. Wouldn't we? the consensus is NOT in, and I'm not the only one saying it.

and calling people who disagree with the conclusions of the AGW theory as "deniers" is just pathetic. Labeling those who dissagree as "deniers" is a clever little tactic to define us as "in denial" of some sort of obvious truth. I think AGW theorists are the deniers here. They don't want to be wrong. Ugh...

Prove the theory of AGW by predicting the climate in detail for 2010 - and repeat the prediction for 2015, in detail with no discrepencies. Prove that climate is clearly understood and predictable. Good luck, I await this simple demonstration of climate knowledge with anticipation!

Mar 16, 2009
Not got a sense of humour? or do you see my point.
Being as Velanarris and Co have to repeatedly give lists of links to papers that show a vast number of natural drivers of a climate change, up or down (or sideways), and no-one has shown ONE that proves that CO2 has more than a possible small effect, I thought I'd have a dig.
We all agree that the climate changes ,but it always has and always will. If Man effects it it is more likely by change of land use etc rather than CO2.
If the top Believers admit for a moment it is not ALL CO2's fault, they would have to stop taxing us on it. They get caught in the lie repeatedly and the sheeple still follow.
As Marvin the paranoid android said "I am so depressed".

Mar 16, 2009
AGW advocacy is a govt-sponsored $10 billion/yr industry. Those who challenge are condemned, fired, and villified. This is the only area of science, ever, to be closed to debate. This ain't science, it's pure left-wing politics. I am greatly encouraged to see that so few people here agree with the hysteria that is AGW. Like virtually all issues, the do-gooders hearts are in the right place, but their heads are stuck in a dark place.

Mar 16, 2009

You are correct regarding this article, that it doesn't back up its models. It takes conclusions of other research and applies it to risk assessment for NY City.

The question of whether the sea level rise assumed by this paper is backed up by good science are best answered by reviewing the paper's references.

Unfortunately, Nature Geoscience charges $18 for the paper "Model Projections of Rapid Sea Level Rise on the Northeast Coast of the United States". Or I would just lists them here.

I have published papers (on neural networks) and have a sense of how rigorously they are peer reviewed before being accepted, so I have a hard time with the science conspiracy view. Nature ( is as prestigious and as difficult a journal to publish in as you can get. While there have been cases of a bad paper getting through, its rare and they have taken quick action to correct it. The last thing scientists who do peer review want is to be associated with fraudulent or low quality results. In science low-credibility or scandal can be a quick and long lasting career killer.

But if Nature's credibility isn't enough, and you really care to review the evidence of this papers model is, as you say you do, $18 will get you the paper and references.

Whether you actually are interested in answering your questions is up to you. If its not worth it to you, (or not worth $18) I suggest the rational thing is to withhold judgement on the paper.

To come to conclusions about the credibility of a paper based on a popular press news story, without following up on the original paper and its references is the typical human madness that science was created to overcome. There isn't enough information here to make any judgement, but that information is available to anyone who wants it. (I did find this story informative, but its purpose was to bring attention to the paper, not demonstrate it was correct).

Mar 16, 2009

Good points. Your experience is sobering.

I have a lot of confidence that most peer reviewed papers have good results, even though some will be refuted. But I share your distrust of the media and politicians and other second sources.

The media's tendency to eye catching headlines over accuracy rises to new heights with big complex subjects like global warming, bio-engineering, robotics, etc.

My fear with governments is they are more interested in appearances than being effective. Politicians win green votes by saying they support biofuel without a clue what the complex pros and cons are.

And more big complex issues are coming down the pipe. Artificial life, longevity enhancement and AI (my field) are at most a few decades away from impacting everyone personally.

It brings to light how hard it is to achieve consensus and credible unbiased viewpoints to the public who are not doing research, can't be expected to validate results, and yet need to make decisions with their money time and votes on complex subjects that really effect them.

Something more accessible than today's primary sources is needed.

I would love to see journals require all data and calculations used in a paper be made available on the web for anyone to verify. Being able to click a button and see plots and predictions appear, and be able to browse the actual data and calculations that produced it, would make things more transparent and understandable. Errors would be caught faster, and added to the paper's material, saving everyone from false starts.


Mar 17, 2009
Yes, an open research site is unlikely to come from a journal. Any more than Craigslist came from newspapers or Wikipedia came from Britannica.

Its a big opportunity, but someone would have to start small, maybe with their own research, and grow carefully to get it right.

My software is extremely technical, but I have set the goal that both command line and GUI functionality should provide all the info or links even a novice needs to understand what is going on and make good choices. My view is having to go to a users guide (online or print) is terrible. Forcing a user to search help on something that is in front of them is a travesty. Its the kind of goal that leads to unexpected insights into communicating complicated and unfamiliar technical issues.

I could put my research on the web in a similarly accessible manner. But it would take some work and thought. The biggest technical hurdle would be somehow supporting different languages for describing solutions over the web. Some kind of Java support for at least inefficiently running other languages like C and MATLAB would be required to make results completely interactive for anyone visiting the page.

Just another task to put on the to do list ... LOL.

Mar 19, 2009
Looks like they finally got TILT on their computer game!

Mar 25, 2009
Also, no one's taking into account that in a few years we'll be drinking ocean water. Once those crazy doohickies are working right and cost a little less, and all the fresh water is used up, we'll only be drinking salt water.

How long does it take 7,000,000,000 people to drink 18" of water off the surface of the ocean?

If it's about 100 years things will be perfect.

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