Research: The East Coast is sinking

Researchers say floods will become more common.
Researchers say floods will become more common.
Bad enough that flooding follows hurricanes such as Irma and Harvey.

      Residents of the East Coast should prepare for a muddy future. Research published in the journal Scientific Reports finds that the region will be threatened by more flooding, with Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina at the most risk.
     The research differentiates between two types of flooding:
  • Catastrophic coastal flooding: That happens “when wind-driven storm surge inundates large areas,” the researchers write. "The relative contribution of sea-level rise to the frequency of these events is difficult to evaluate.”
  • Nuisance flooding: This is often associated with high tides, the article points out. And “recent increases in frequency are more clearly linked to sea-level rise and global warming.”
    During the last ice age 20,000 years ago, an ice sheet covered portions of Canada. The sheet pressed down on the continent and "some areas of the earth’s mantle were thus pressed sideways under the ice, causing the coastal regions that were free of ice to be raised," explains a news release by the University of Bonn, Germany. But when the ice melted, the process reversed. Some East Coast cities were founded in the 16th and 17th centuries. Researchers calculate that these cities lie 45 centimeters (17 inches) lower today as a result of the glacier effect, the news release explains. Add to that the impact of global warming -- responsible for an additional 15 centimeters (6 inches) of submerged land. 
      While both types of flooding are likely to increase, the authors write, nuisance flooding is “an early indicator of areas that will eventually experience increased catastrophic flooding and land loss.”
      The article is: "Nuisance Flooding and Relative Sea-Level Rise: The Importance of Present-Day Land Motion," published in Scientific Reports Sept. 11, led by Makan A. Karegar, School of Geosciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, and currently a guest researcher at the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the University of Bonn, et al.

CASSINI’S GRAND FINALE: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will plunge into Saturn Sept. 15, ending its mission.
      The spacecraft made a final approach to the moon Titan Sept. 11. It was to fly 73,974 miles (119,049 kilometers) above the moon's surface. Mission engineers call the encounter Cassini’s “goodbye kiss,” as it “provides a gravitational nudge that sends the spacecraft toward its dramatic ending in Saturn's upper atmosphere,” according to NASA.
      The space agency will air briefings on its website on Sept. 15. The spacecraft should signal scientists at NASA on Sept. 12 to transmit images taken during the final approach to Titan. 


     Hurricane Sandy-level flooding to rise

     Researchers prep for spacecraft's grand finale

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