3-D Maps Pictured Sandy’s Devastation–Five Years Ago

3-D Maps Pictured Sandy’s Devastation–Five Years Ago

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Five years ago, a report called “Nation Under Siege” illustrated the vulnerability of 31 U.S. coastal cities to flooding. But not just to any kind of flooding—to the flooding of a permanent kind from sea level rise. What will happen to these cities, the report asked, as sea levels continue to increase from global warming? The study provided answers in a series of 3-D maps constructed using data from federal science agencies and the United Nations’ climate panel. The maps provide an uncanny prediction of what transpired on October 29 when superstorm Sandy engulfed 1,000 miles of Atlantic coastline.

Most striking is the 3-D map of New York, which shows what could happen to the city with a 3-meter rise in sea level: Lower Manhattan, the East Village neighborhood and the FDR Drive underwater. That’s exactly what Sandy’s 3-meter storm surge delivered. Was superstorm Sandy a preview of what sea level rise will bring—permanently—to New York and other coastal cities by century’s end?

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