Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Long-Term Sea Level Rise in Washington, D.C. Could Have Significant Impact

05.11.2012
The nation’s capital is likely to face flooding and infrastructure damage in both the short- and long-term brought about by sea level rise (SLR), current trends and predicted increases suggest.

The rise is linked to thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of global ice sheets as a result of global warming, researchers say in a new study focused on real-estate property and government infrastructure impacts in Washington, D.C.

Short-term predictions suggest that sea level will rise 0.1 meters by the year 2043 and flood about 103 properties and other infrastructure, costing the city about $2.1 billion. By 2150, 0.4 meters of SLR is likely to impact 142 properties. For long-term effects if sea level rise were to reach 5.0 meters, the authors warn of significant damages in excess of $24.6 billion to commercial buildings, military installations, museums and a number of government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education.

While a rise of 5.0 meters is considered unlikely, recent weather events such as Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003 and high tides and rains in April of 2011 triggered waterfront flooding in the city and Northern Virginia. The authors warn that extreme weather may increase the chances of flooding as sea levels increase.

The study, by University of Maryland researchers, examines its results in comparison with a set of models generated by authoritative international bodies and experts. Researchers Bilal Ayyub, Haralamb G. Braileanu and Naeem Qureshi of the Center for Technology and Systems Management of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the College Park campus of the University of Maryland published the paper. The article, entitled “Prediction and Impact of Sea Level Rise on Properties and Infrastructure of Washington, DC,” appears in the November 2012 issue of Risk Analysis, published by the Society for Risk Analysis.

The research relies on an unrealistically optimistic model in which SLR increases in a straight line consistent with recent trends. Other studies suggest the pattern shows increasing rates of SLR leading to, for example, a one meter SLR by the year 2100 compared with the 0.4 meter SLR rise employed in this analysis. Thus, the authors say their approach may underestimate the city’s SLR in the future.

To fully assess the potential damage, the researchers used Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and data from government agencies as well as real-estate listings for property values. The results show that the current rate of SLR in Washington, D.C., is about 3.16 millimeters per year and that at the low levels of increase expected in the near future, SLR would lead to a minimal loss of city area. But if 0.1 meters of SLR occurs by 2043 as the authors expect, nearby Bolling Air Force Base would lose 23 buildings.

With dramatic SLR increases over the long term, predictions suggest that billions of dollars in damage would result. Above 2.5 meters of SLR, the authors write, the “numbers become staggering. . . 302 properties are affected, costing $6.1 billion, finally at 5.0 meters of SLR, the numbers increase to a dramatic 1,225 properties and at least $24.6 billion” in damage. They add that these monetary estimates focus on real-estate property values and exclude additional damage valuations to water and sewer systems and other infrastructure, as well as to federal and industrial facilities, which they say should be included.

The authors conclude, “Decisions must be made in the near future by lawmakers or city planners on how to reduce the impact of and adapt to SLR. A planned retreat is not an option when dealing with SLR in such an important area. . . A short-term solution, like creating a small flood barrier, may give the city time to examine this challenge and produce cost-effective solutions. Cost-effective methods to deal with SLR should be developed, and long-term solutions that extend well into this millennium are necessary.”

Risk Analysis: An International Journal is published by the nonprofit Society for Risk Analysis (SRA). SRA is a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, scholarly, international society that provides an open forum for all those who are interested in risk analysis. Risk analysis is defined broadly to include risk assessment, risk characterization, risk communication, risk management, and policy relating to risk, in the context of risks of concern to individuals, to public and private sector organizations, and to society at a local, regional, national, or global level. http://www.sra.org

Contact: Steve Gibb, 202.422.5425 skgibb@aol.com to arrange an interview with the authors.

Note to editors: This study is available upon request from Steve Gibb or here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2011.01710.x/full

Steve Gibb | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sra.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Researchers find higher than expected carbon emissions from inland waterways
25.05.2016 | Washington State University

nachricht Rutgers scientists help create world's largest coral gene database
24.05.2016 | Rutgers University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Worldwide Success of Tyrolean Wastewater Treatment Technology

A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.

The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...

Im Focus: Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.

The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...

Im Focus: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

International expert meeting “Health Business Connect” in France

19.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

11 million Euros for research into magnetic field sensors for medical diagnostics

27.05.2016 | Awards Funding

Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

New Model of T Cell Activation

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>