In December 2012, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was on vacation in Berlin when he decided to detour to the Netherlands. He wanted to get a firsthand sense of the famed Dutch approach to water management.
Storm Surge: The Merrimack Valley Coastal Adaptation Workgroup continues its spring series about the expected effects of sea level rise on Wednesday, May 7, at 7 p.m. with the first local showing of "Shored Up," the first feature-length film to explore the impact of rising sea levels on coastal communities in the United States.
"Shored Up" will be presented at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Plum Island Turnpike.
Climate change may not have been as prominent in the headlines in the 1980s as it is today, but it was certainly on the minds of engineers designing a new sewage-treatment plant for Boston.
Today, the massive Deer Island plant can boast of being one of the first major coastal projects that had a nearly 2-foot rise in sea level designed into its construction. That is good news to area residents because the plant — one of the nation’s largest — handles sewage from 61 Boston area municipalities and 2.5 million customers.
When Sandy blew into East Coast communities a year ago, it was flooding that did the most damage.
That's in part because the average sea level has risen over the past century — about a foot along the mid-Atlantic coast. That made it easier for the storm to push the ocean onto the land.
And scientists say there will be many more Sandy-style storms — that is, torrential rain and wind that create heavy coastal flooding — and they'll be more frequent than in the past. But preparing people for that means changing the way they live, and that's proving politically difficult.
Superstorm Sandy wreaked $28 million worth of havoc in Massachusetts a year ago October, cutting power to 400,000 customers and forcing evacuations in low-lying areas from Dartmouth to Plum Island.
It could have been much worse.
(NECN: Peter Howe, Boston) On the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy laying waste to the New Jersey coastline and flooding New York City – and giving Boston a long, hard soaking – Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and city officials and environmentalists reviewed progress on the city’s efforts to prepare for further climate change and severe weather events.
One year ago, when Superstorm Sandy devastated much of New Jersey and New York City, the event sparked an intense national discussion about an issue that had gone mysteriously undiscussed during the presidential campaign: climate change.
We think of the sea level rise projected by climate scientists as a gradual thing, like water filling up a bathtub. Warmer water expands, glaciers melt, and pieces of the great ice caps break off and drop into the sea like ice cubes into a glass of water, pushing the water-line higher.
But there was nothing gradual about the rising of seas off New York and New Jersey a year ago this week. Pushed by Superstorm Sandy, a 14-foot storm surge rose up and hit New York Harbor in just a few hours.
"Rising sea levels exacerbate flooding," Tufts University geologist Andrew Kemp says. "As sea level rises, smaller and weaker storms will cause flood damage."