When we consider how best to address climate change, we tend to focus on the everyday actions we can do at the local level, whether that happens at the scale of personal habits like recycling, composting or bicycling or the citywide effort to retrofit our aging building stock. But some climate effects begin far, far away- notably 8,000 miles away in Antarctica.
A new study from the National Academy of Sciences uses computer projections based on climate info from prehistory and projects its models to 2300, using thousands of computer simulations. What they found was good news in some ways, and bad news in others.
Storms in the future will tend to veer away from the Northeast coast, but the storms that do land will be much more intense. And the rate of sea level rise from melting glaciers in Antarctica could turn a manageable situation into an unmanageable one.
The result is that the risk of a storm similar to Hurricane Sandy, albeit with a slightly smaller storm surge, has gone from a one-in-500-years event in 1800 to a one-in-25-years event today. By the period between 2030 and 2045, such storms could become a one-in-five-years event, according to the projections.
In effect, the study shows that New York is not quite halfway through a 500-year saga of rising seas (going all the way back to 1800), and that it could get considerably worse toward the endpoint.