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In New York, The Rising Threat Of
Flooding Was Predicted for Years

While climate experts hesitate to say Hurricane Sandy was caused by climate change, scientists for years have predicted that such devastating events would become increasingly common as sea levels rise and

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MOMA
Rising Currents: A 2010 exhibit showed visions of New York adapting to climate change.
ocean temperatures become warmer. For more than a decade, reports have warned that climate change will likely trigger more intense hurricanes and more frequent and severe flooding in low-lying areas, such as occurred in parts of New York and New Jersey this week. And with sea levels projected to rise by as much as six inches per decade by mid-century — and as much as several feet by 2100 — experts say New York City’s flood zone will continue to expand, causing increased stress on the existing infrastructure. In the aftermath of Sandy, New York officials are starting to discuss projects that might withstand such surges, including constructing a levee system or storm-surge barriers. “Three of the top 10 highest floods at the Battery [in Lower Manhattan] since 1900 happened in the last two and a half years,” Ben Strauss, director of the sea rise program at Climate Central, told the New York Times. “If that’s not a wake-up call to take this seriously, I don’t know what is.”


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