New Jersey at increased risk for hurricane damage, study finds
A new report has found that New Jersey’s risk to tidal flooding has doubled since 1980, with risks due to rising sea-levels, which will continue to increase in the future, according to a press release for a study conducted by the Rhodium Group. It was co-written by Robert Kopp, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and director of the Institute of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS).
The approximately 6-inch increase in sea-level rise since 1980 has increased the number of homes at risk of flooding by approximately 110%, according to the release.
“There are 23,000 more homes and other buildings worth a combined $13 billion at risk of frequent flooding today than if sea levels had remained at 1980s levels,” according to the release. “There are 27,000 more buildings worth a combined $15 billion that are now likely to flood at least once a year.”
The risk of storm surge has also gone up in the past 40 years, according to the release.
“We estimate between 62,000 and 86,000 more homes and commercial properties, worth a combined value of more than $60 billion, now sit in areas with a 1 in 30 chance of hurricane flooding,” according to the release.
There has been approximately a $670 million to $1.3 billion increase in the amount of hurricane-flood and rain-related damage since 1980 compared to the damage that would have happened if the sea-levels did not rise, according to the release.
“It is likely that by midcentury an additional 33,000 to 58,000 buildings in the state will flood frequently. An additional 73,000 to 113,000 buildings worth a combined $60 to $96 billion will likely be in the 1-in-30-year floodplain by 2050. Average annual hurricane wind and flood damage in the state will likely grow by $1.3 to $3.1 billion,” according to the release.
The projections are not definite conclusions. “Future reductions in global emissions would substantially reduce these hazards in the second half of the century, but that alone will not be enough. Vulnerable communities can better prepare for floods and storm damage by linking planning, mitigation and adaptation,” according to the release.
Kopp, along with his environmental research, is also co-chairing the President’s Task Force on Carbon Neutrality and Carbon Resiliency, which is evaluating when and how Rutgers University could potentially achieve carbon-neutrality, according to The Daily Targum in September.
“I expect this task force to develop and recommend a plan for Rutgers to achieve carbon neutrality across our institution. The task force must first define carbon neutrality within the context of the University community. Then, it is tasked with outlining scenarios, timelines, and key benchmarks for achieving this goal on as rapid a timeframe as is possible,” said University President Robert L. Barchi at the time of the announcement.
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