WEST LONG BRANCH — Think it's tough to operate a business or invest in real estate in this economy? Just wait until that sea level comes up a few more inches.
Climate change is already forcing subtle adjustments in how people live along the coast, from insurance costs to community planning, according to speakers at a panel on climate-change effects at the Shore, hosted today by Monmouth University's Urban Coast Institute and co-sponsored by the Jersey Shore Partnership and Monmouth-Ocean Development Council.
"Adaptation is already well under way," said Radley Horton, a scientist with Columbia University's Center for Climate System Research and an adviser to New York City's climate change committee.
City planners are looking to protect critical infrastructure from sea-level rise, conservatively projected at 1 to 2 feet in this century, he said.Even if storms don't increase in strength and frequency, that sea-level rise will mean that today's storm floods of about 8 feet above mean low water will occur five times as frequently, Horton told the gathering in Wilson Hall.
(looking for a solid, long-term investment? Think dikes & levees, technology similar to what the Netherlands tap to keep the North Sea out of their - reclaimed - yards and towns. I'm serious. A slow-motion rise in sea level is underway; this becomes much more critical during hurricanes and even nor'easters that roar up the east coast. It may not seem like much, but even a rise of a few inches makes a significant difference in ultimate damage when storm-induced waves are superimposed on this rise in sea level).
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