Out of curiosity, I examined two cities in particular, using the interactive maps http://www.climatecentral.org/wgts/10ft/CitiesList-10ft-SLR.html provided on the internet. These were: my birthplace, Boston; and my adopted hometown of Philadelphia. In both cases, the estimate of which streets would be under water, and which streets would remain (after one or two hundred years, we’re told) shows that the site of my birth, 1 Milk Street in Boston, would survive, and the location of my Philadelphia home, 314-321 Market St., would also be safe from rising floodwaters.
Whole neighborhoods to vanish
In many other areas, however, the inhabitants will not be so lucky. Whole neighborhoods, as we know them today, will be gone. New York City, for example, will be one of the hardest hit, as New York Bay encroaches on many of the most built-up and densely populated areas in the entire nation.
What we do have to keep in mind, of course, is that these changes are supposed to happen over the course of a hundred years or so. So there is no reason for immediate panic. But will short-sighted leaders put this issue off indefinitely, leaving it to future governments to solve?
If the leadership of this country’s cities and states were smart, they would begin planning now for some extremely radical transformation of U.S. coastal areas.
The consequences of doing nothing
If they do not, with each new storm, hurricane, or other unexpected weather incident, residents will be increasingly impacted by minor (or major) flooding, similar to that which was experienced after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Local creeks and rivers will become engorged, spilling both runoff water and sewer water into adjacent neighborhoods. Ground transportation will also be affected, with major highways and rail lines rendered impassible by flood waters. Air travel would be a victim, too, since many airports have been constructed in areas that are very close to the coast.
This is truly something to think about, as we all complacently go to sleep tonight, thinking that all is right with the world.
Your humble servant,