More Bay, less State in Mass. Future

As the Globe reports, all those climate change chickens are coming home to roost, but don’t tell Scott Warren. He’s too busy talking to kings and queens.

As temperatures are projected to climb, polar ice to melt, and oceans to swell over the coming decades, Boston is likely to bear a disproportionate impact of rising sea levels, government scientists report in a new study.

The seas along the East Coast from North Carolina to New England are rising three to four times faster than the global average, and coastal cities, utilities, beaches, and wetlands are increasingly vulnerable to flooding, especially from storm surges, according to the US Geological Survey study published Sunday.

“Cities in the hot spot, like Norfolk, New York, and Boston, already experience damaging floods during relatively low-intensity storms,” said Asbury Sallenger, a Geological Survey oceanographer and lead author of the study in the journal Nature Climate Change. “Accelerated sea-level rise,” he said, will add to “the height that storm surges and breaking waves reach on the coast.”

The findings come as Boston and Massachusetts officials are taking the first of a range of responses to the threat of rising seas. The report did not project how much levels would rise in the Northeast, but globally, oceans are projected to increase between 2 feet and 6 feet by the end of the century, and as much as an additional 5 feet during the heaviest storms. Climate scientists say such storms are likely to increase in intensity and frequency over the coming decades. Read more.


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