Because I’ll be focusing my white paper on climate change, this image brought up a lot of issues for me.
With the strong winds, rain, and storm surges brought on by Hurricane Sandy, entire towns flooded; homes, cars, people, and animals were lost; and coast lines were forever changed. This kind of storm is only supposed to be a once-a-century kind of thing. But because ocean temperatures have been steadily rising, and are expected to continue this warming pattern, these kinds of storms are going to become ever more frequent – and ever more powerful. A storm like Sandy won’t just be an outlier; it’ll be more of the norm.
Something else that this picture brings up is the rise in sea level. It’s already happening, and by 2020, the area where I live could be underwater. New Orleans, a city below sea-level, may be mostly gone. Many other popular U.S. cities situated near the water – New York, Seattle, Miami, and Boston, to name a few – could also see their borders shrink.
It’s weird to think that what’s here now may not be there in the future. It’s even weirder that it’ll happen within our lifetimes.