While news headlines focus on climate negotiations in Paris and plans to slow the impacts of climate change, those of us at home in southern Westchester have an updated tool for understanding how climate change will affect us.
The negotiators are tackling ways to help people like the 70,000 residents of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, for example, whose homes are already flooded because of sea-level rise caused by climate change. But in just a few years time, according to the web-based flood mapping tool created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Westchester residents along the low-lying coastal areas, like the Marshal Islanders, can look forward to shifting marshlands and bailing out their homes from more frequent storm surges and flooding.
NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management created the Sea Level Rise Viewer to show how coastal flooding will become more frequent with sea-level rise, how marshlands may move as a result, and how people, buildings and businesses may be affected. The maps visualize “the scale of potential flooding, not the exact location, and do not account for erosion, subsidence, or future construction.”
You just select your geographical area and and use the slider bar to “simulate various sea-level rise scenarios (from one to six feet above the average highest tides) and the corresponding areas that would be impacted by flooding.”
According to NOAA, “… today’s flood will become tomorrow’s high tide, as sea level rise will cause flooding to occur more frequently and last for longer durations of time.
If you click on the “vulnerability” tab, you get a view (at right) of the potential impact of sea level rise on vulnerable people and businesses in your area.
Check out a video overview of the map tools here.
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.