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October 31st, 2012, 19:47
NYT called out city’s flood-protection problems in September

New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn

Duh, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out they needed to protect against rising sea levels. Looks like they will be taking this "opportunity" to waterproof or move some of the electrical power connections and switches. They are talking about moving the power lines out of the subway tunnels though, but where would they go instead? Transmission towers and lines? Yech.

Consolidated Edison, the utility that supplies electricity to most of the city, estimates that adaptations like installing submersible switches and moving high-voltage transformers above ground level would cost at least $250 million. Lacking the means, it is making gradual adjustments, with about $24 million spent in flood zones since 2007.
That's a fucking drop in the bucket compared to opportunity costs lost by having no electricity not to mention the human impact. Penny wise and pound foolish. Con Ed took weeks to restore power in LA after a big windstorm last year. They were totally unprepared. This is why critical utilities shouldn't be provided by private companies.

The most vulnerable systems, like the subway tunnels under the Harlem and East Rivers, would have been unusable for nearly a month, or longer, at an economic loss of about $55 billion, said Dr. Jacob.
Instead of “planning to be flooded,” as he put it, city, state and federal agencies should be investing in protection like sea gates that could close during a storm and block a surge from Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean into the East River and New York Harbor.

The waters on the city’s doorstep have been rising roughly an inch a decade over the last century as oceans have warmed and expanded. But according to scientists advising the city, that rate is accelerating, because of environmental factors, and levels could rise two feet higher than today’s by midcentury. More frequent flooding is expected to become an uncomfortable reality.

With higher seas, a common storm could prove as damaging as the rare big storm or hurricane is today, scientists say. Were sea levels to rise four feet by the 2080s, for example, 34 percent of the city’s streets could lie in the flood-risk zone, compared with just 11 percent now, a 2011 study commissioned by the state said.
“There’s a lot of concern about angering developers,” said Ben Chou, a water-policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Oh, too bad, the little children can't behave like responsible adults on their own. Just gimme, gimme, gimme.

The AP (10/31, Borenstein) reports that climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer reported just eight months ago "that what used to be once-in-a-century devastating floods in New York City would soon happen every three to 20 years," blaming "global warming for pushing up sea levels and changing hurricane patterns." However, scientists caution "that they cannot yet conclusively link a single storm to global warming, and any connection is not as clear and simple as environmental activists might contend." Still, several climate scientists say that "some individual parts of Sandy and its wrath seem to be influenced by climate change," including rising sea levels, the rising average temperature of the Atlantic Ocean, and a warmer than normal Gulf Stream. Governor Cuomo concluded, "Anyone who says that there's not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality."

The New York Times (10/31, Gillis) reports in its "Green" blog that "a detailed understanding of the anatomy and causes of the storm will take months, at least." However, several climate scientists said, "A likely contributor to the intensity of Sandy…was that surface temperatures in the western Atlantic Ocean were remarkably high just ahead of the storm - in places, about five degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal for this time of year." Meanwhile, "other scientists are looking at this year's historic loss of sea ice in the Arctic as a potential contributor to the track of Sandy, and possibly to the severity of the storm." Scientists say that the hybrid nature of this storm makes trying to pinpoint its causes of more difficult.
Last edited by Thrasher; October 31st, 2012 at 19:57.
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