: https://www.sciencealert.com/new-york-city-could-be-sinking-under-the-weight-of-its-skyscrapers “New York City Could Be Sinking Under The Weight of Its Skyscrapers …”
: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-york-city-is-sinking-under-the-weight-of-its-skyscrapers-study-finds-180982225/ “New York City Is Sinking Under the Weight of Its Skyscrapers, Study …”
: https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/new-york-city-s-skyscrapers-are-sinking-the-city-and-climate-change-can-make-things-worse/ar-AA1bq5pW “New York City’s skyscrapers are sinking the city — and climate change can make things worse”
: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/why-is-new-york-city-sinking-how-much-do-nyc-s-buildings-weigh/ar-AA1bxLeD “Why is New York City sinking? How much do NYC’s buildings weigh?”
: https://www.theverge.com/2023/5/19/23730478/nyc-skyscrapers-climate-change-sinking-manhattan “New York City’s skyscrapers are sinking the city – The Verge”
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How Skyscrapers Are Sinking New York City: The Shocking Truth Revealed by New Research
New York City is one of the most iconic and vibrant cities in the world. It’s also one of the most vulnerable to coastal flooding due to sea level rise and extreme weather events.
But did you know that the city is also sinking under the weight of its own buildings?
That’s right. According to a new study by the United States Geological Survey, New York City is subsiding at a rate of 1-2 millimeters per year, on average. Some parts of the city are sinking even faster, up to 2.75 millimeters per year.
That may not sound like much, but over time, it adds up. And it makes the city more prone to flooding, especially as climate change accelerates sea level rise and intensifies storms.
In this blog post, I’m going to reveal the shocking truth about how skyscrapers are sinking New York City, and what you can do to protect yourself and your property from the rising waters.
Why is New York City sinking?
New York City is sinking for two main reasons: natural and human-induced.
The natural reason is that the city is still rebounding from the last ice age, when massive glaciers covered much of North America. As the ice melted, it relieved pressure on the land, causing it to rise. But this process is not uniform, and some areas are rising faster than others. New York City happens to be in a region that is rising slower than its surroundings, creating a downward tilt.
The human-induced reason is that the city is loaded with heavy buildings that compress the underlying soil and bedrock. The researchers estimated that the city’s 1.08 million buildings weigh about 1.68 trillion pounds, almost double the weight of all of humanity combined.
Depending on the type of soil and bedrock beneath them, buildings can sink as much as 600 millimeters, or almost two feet. The study found that areas with clay-rich soils are more susceptible to subsidence because they are softer and more fluid under pressure.
How does sinking affect New York City?
Sinking affects New York City by increasing its exposure to coastal flooding, which is already a serious threat due to sea level rise and storm surges.
Sea level rise is caused by two main factors: melting ice sheets and glaciers, and thermal expansion of seawater due to global warming. Globally, sea levels have risen eight to nine inches since 1880, but in New York City, they have risen around that much in the last 73 years alone.
By 2050, sea levels are expected to rise by eight to 30 inches around New York City, depending on how much the world limits greenhouse gas emissions.
Storm surges are temporary increases in water level caused by strong winds and low pressure during storms. They can add several feet of water on top of the normal tide level, creating devastating floods.
New York City has experienced several major storms in recent years that have caused widespread damage and fatalities. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 flooded subway tunnels, power stations, homes and businesses across the city, killing 43 people and costing $19 billion in damages. Hurricane Ida in 2021 dumped record-breaking rainfall that overwhelmed the city’s drainage system, killing 13 people and causing $50 billion in damages.
The city ranks third in the world for the highest amount of assets likely to be exposed to coastal flooding in the future, according to the study. Some areas are more vulnerable than others, especially those with lower elevation, higher population density and lower income levels.
What can you do to protect yourself and your property?
While sinking is not something you can stop or reverse easily, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your property from coastal flooding.
- Stay informed about flood risks and warnings in your area. You can check the FEMA Flood Map Service Center or the NYC Flood Hazard Mapper to see if your property is in a flood zone.
- Prepare an emergency plan and kit for yourself and your family. Include items such as water, food, flashlight, radio, batteries, first aid kit, medications, important documents and cash.
- Elevate or relocate your valuables and electrical equipment above the expected flood level. You can also install flood-proofing measures such as waterproof doors, windows and walls.
- Purchase flood insurance if you don’t have it already. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. You can check if you are eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program or find a private insurer.
- Support local and global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts. You can do this by using renewable energy sources, driving less or using public transportation, recycling and composting waste, planting trees and gardens, and advocating for climate action policies.
New York City is sinking under the weight of its skyscrapers, and climate change is making it worse.
This poses a serious risk of coastal flooding for millions of people who live and work in the city.
But you don’t have to be a victim of this situation. You can take action to protect yourself and your property from flooding, and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause sea level rise and storms.
If you found this blog post helpful, please share it with your friends and family who live in New York City or other coastal cities that are sinking. Together, we can make a difference for our future.
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