Sea Level Rise Threatening Jersey Shore Towns
Flooding caused by high tide may eventually become a problem on more than 200 days per year in certain areas along the New Jersey coastline, according to a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The report released Tuesday found rising sea levels have already caused a spike in the number of flooding events compared to decades past, and the problem can only get worse as the years go by.
In Atlantic City, for example, tidal flooding is currently an issue on nearly 30 days per year. However, in the next 15 years, that number is expected to triple. By the year 2045, Atlantic City can expect more than 240 floods annually.
Similar totals are projected for Cape May and Sandy Hook.
"We already know that tidal flooding is happening four to five times more often than it did just 40 years ago," said Dr. Melanie Fitzpatrick, author of the report. "In places like Atlantic City, we've actually seen more than 15 inches of sea level rise in the last 100 years."
The study noted many communities along the East Coast will see dramatic changes due to sea level rise caused by global warming. Scientists based their findings on an analysis of 52 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tide gauges.
"High tides matter more now than in decades past because our shorelines are now more highly developed," Fitzpatrick said.
Right now, she said, road and bridge closures due to flooding are a periodic annoyance, but if they become a regular occurrence, "some hard choices" must be made.