Why Storm Surges – Coastal Flooding Will Occur More Frequently

One of the least understood impacts of climate change and sea level rise is the greatly increased frequency of extreme storm surges and coastal flooding like we saw on Jan 5 and February 1.  Many people still mistakenly rely on their vague knowledge of infrequent past sea flooding events to predict what may happen in the future. 

half M rise ann event Parl CommThe 20cm of sea level rise we have already experience in the last century has already doubled the frequency of these extreme events since 1900.  A further 10-20 cm of sea level rise will result in far more frequent extreme flooding events.  With 50 cm of sea level rise, these extreme events will happen every 6 months.  These impacts are “locked in” because of the lag effect from CO2 already in the atmosphere.

In this short YouTube video I cobbled together, Dr Scott Stephens – expert Coastal Scientist with NIWA explains why extreme sea flooding events will be common, and outlines how communities can begin to adapt.

In Hawkes Bay Councils Have Developed a Comprehensive Coastal Hazard Plan

In Maryland, Sea Level Rise is Impacting Now

In Maryland’s Dorchester County sea level rise has already profoundly altered the landscape, and how people go about their daily lives. The similarities of their landscape with the low lying “reclaimed” marshlands in South Dunedin and in Thames are striking. Watch this video (14 mins) and take a glimpse into how the future and see how some of our coastal communities will look in a few short years.

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