Forest Hills Beach or Swamp

March 11, 2008 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

Gotham Gazette today has a detailed and well-written piece on the rising sea level around New York City and what that means not only for its 600 miles of waterfront but also various parts of the in-land boroughs, including not quite Forest Hills, but pretty damned close.

sealevelsi.jpg Image: Google Earth blog

Read the Gazette’s exegesis on the subject if you can. Otherwise, these:

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates temperatures will rise between four and thirteen degrees Fahrenheit in the next 90 years. Higher temperatures will increase the intensity and frequency of storms, lead to more rainfall during the winter due to less snow and create rising sea levels, all of which will make flooding more common and severe. Even under an optimistic scenario, the group predicts that the kind of flood the city now expects once every 100 years could occur an average of every 22 years by the turn of the century.

Over the next 80 years, sea levels around New York City could rise by 11.8 to 37.5 inches, according to calculations by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. As a result, “flooding by major storms would inundate many low-lying neighborhoods and shut down the metropolitan transportation system with much greater frequency,” said a paper by the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems. Given this, the paper continued, many areas would face flooding from a Category 3 hurricane, including “the Rockaways, Coney Island, much of southern Brooklyn and Queens, portions of Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, lower Manhattan, and eastern Staten Island from Great Kills Harbor north to the Verrazano Bridge.”…


The changing climate threatens existing developments as well. The vast majority of damage resulting from this summer’s flash floods were in Queens. After that storm, an underpass in Glendale was covered with 10 feet of water, raw sewage was forced up through people’s toilets and sinks in Queens Village, and the tracks at Long Island Railroad’s Bayside station were immersed.

Much of the area is on land that is low lying and getting even lower. Emily Lloyd, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, has said that the water table in southeast Queens has risen 30 feet in 20 years, and now sits “just below the surface.”

In March, the city created a Flood Mitigation Task Force to identify hotspots for flooding throughout the borough by March. Some progress has begun, and last month the Department of Environmental Protection announced a six-year effort to build a drainage pipe for Whitestone.

Better to read the original in its entirely, though, because it goes into what the city is doing to prepare, given these dire predictions.


Entry filed under: Forest Hills.

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