By 2050, majority of US coastal areas are likely to be threatened by flooding for 30 or more days each year due to dramatically accelerating impacts from sea level rise, according to a new NOAA study.
NOAA scientists Sweet and Joseph Park established a frequency-based benchmark for what they call 'tipping points', when flooding, defined by NOAA's National Weather Service as between one to two feet above local high tide, occurs more than 30 or more times a year. Based on this standard, the NOAA team found that these tipping points will be met or exceeded by 2050 at most of the coastal areas in US, regardless of sea level rise likely to occur this century. The report said that these regional tipping points will be surpassed in the coming decades in areas with- more frequent storms, and in areas where local sea levels rise more than the global projection of one and half to four feet.
Sweet said, "Coastal communities are beginning to experience sunny-day nuisance or urban flooding, much more so than in decades past. This is due to sea level rise. Unfortunately, once impacts are noticed, they will become commonplace rather quickly."
With increasingly vulnerability to water inundation and flooding, effective risk management is going to become more heavily reliant on environmental data and analysis. The study is published in the American Geophysical Union's online peer-reviewed journal 'Earth's Future'.