Global warming-caused flooding “tipping points” are approaching in the U.S., a NOAA study warns as record snowfall descends on states from New York on to the northeast.
“Sunny-day” flooding is already a problem warns the study, “From the extreme to the mean: Acceleration and tipping points of coastal inundation from sea level rise,” by NOAA’s William V. Sweet and Joseph Park:
“Coastal communities are beginning to experience sunny-day nuisance or urban flooding, much more so than in decades past,” Sweet said, commenting on the study.
“We suggest a tipping point for coastal inundation (30 days/per year with a threshold exceedance) based on the evolution of exceedance probabilities. Under forcing associated with the local-median projections of RSLR, the majority of locations surpass the tipping point over the next several decades regardless of specific RCP.”
Global warming is causing the sea level to rise, leaving the “tipping point” only a few decades away, it says: “The current scientific consensus is that anthropogenically forced climate change is warming the planet and contributing to sea level rise [Cazenave and Le Cozannet, 2013] This climate warming has contributed to a global mean sea level rise (SLR) rate of ˜1.7 mm/year over the last century with higher rates of ˜3.2 mm/year over the last couple of decades [Church and White, 2011; Merrifield et al., 2013].
“Accordingly, the majority of locations will cross the 30 days/year (0.5 m above MHHW threshold) tipping point by 2050 under RSLR projections quite likely to occur (within the local 20% and 80% probability range of RSLR projections) and by 2060 under RSLR projections very likely to occur (between local 5% and 95% probability range of RSLR projections) from all three RCPs.”
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