The planet we inhabit might be literally sinking and not necessarily at a slow pace. Major U.S. cities are at risk of being flooded massively due to a combination of surging ocean tides and heavy rain. According to The planet we inhabit might be literally sinking and not necessarily at a slow pace. specialists, the risk of that happening is two times higher than it used to be 80 years ago.
This prompted a team of researchers from the University of South Florida’ s College of Marine Science to analyze the risk major cities in the U.S. face. According to them, the cities located along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are exposed to greater risk. Storm surges have a great impact on these cities because they intensify flood potential.
“Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population resides in coastal counties. Flooding can have devastating impacts for these low-lying, densely populated and heavily developed regions and have wide-ranging social, economic and environmental consequences,” said lead study author Thomas Wahl from the University of Siegen in Germany and the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.
The researchers took into account two causes that might result in flooding – high precipitation and storm surge, which co-occurred in coastal regions. These can lead to enhanced river discharge (fluvial) and direct run-off (pluvial).
They also looked at the three important compound flooding mechanisms, such as storm surge flooding which can be more devastating if its effects are enhanced with heavy rainfall, increased water levels and moderate storm surge that can slow down or even block drainage.
They revealed that a combination of storm surge and rainfall can contribute to flooding at a very fast rate especially for cities situated in the coastal regions.
“Whether or not all of these mechanisms are relevant at a particular site strongly depends on the local setting,” said Thomas Wahl . Along with his fellow researchers, he collected data from over 30 U.S. cities located along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts to see what the impact of storm surge and rainfall really is. For some of these cities the flood potential had never been evaluated before.
When comparing the present data with that from the past, they noticed that the phenomenon was accelerating and that these cities are more at risk to be flooded. Further research needs to be carried out to investigate the connection to climate change and weather in order to have a larger picture of the direction we are moving in.
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