Study says skyscrapers and sea levels are causing New York City to sink
New research shows that pressure from New York City’s massive buildings makes some areas more vulnerable to sinking into the ocean.
Scott L. Hall, USA Today
Scientists have found that most of New York City’s metropolitan area is slowly sinking, making the area more vulnerable to flooding, according to a study published this week.
A team of scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Rutgers University in Southern California and Rutgers University in New Jersey published the study in the journal Science Advances. They found that the major metro area is sinking at a rate of 0.06 inches per year.
The study came as New York State Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday, as heavy rains caused flash flooding in Manhattan, Staten Island and Brooklyn.
Scientists studied the vertical movement of the Earth in the region from 2016 to 2023 to find out how much the Earth will fall or rise. They used synthetic aperture interferometric radar to study the Earth’s topography.
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“Most of the movement they observed occurred in areas where previous modifications to the land surface — such as land reclamation and landfill construction — had made the ground looser and more compact under later buildings.” Written by Sally Younger of NASA’s Earth Science News team Wednesday.
The study found Arthur Ashe Stadium, built over a landfill in Flushing Queens, is sinking faster, at a rate of 0.18 inches per year. On the other hand, Woodside in Queens is rising at a rate of 0.27 inches per year.
A similar study was released in May Oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island and the US Geological Survey found that a number of large buildings in New York City are contributing to the subsidence.
What parts of New York are sinking the most?
According to the study, LaGuardia Airport is also sinking by about 0.15 inches annually. According to the airport’s websiteit’s in the middle $8 billion renewal To address many long-standing issues and mitigate major floods. The international airport is located next to Flushing Bay in Queens.
Outside of New York City, the communities of Newark, Kearney and Harrison in New Jersey are inundated. The study did not provide the rate at which sites were sinking.
Drowning threatens the metropolitan area, with sea levels at The Battery Park in Manhattan rising by 0.12 inches per year in the 20th century, researchers said. Recently, sea level has risen at a rate of 0.17 inches per year.
according to NASA’s sea level prediction toolScientists expect sea levels to rise by 0.04 inches by 2100.
“The city has long dealt with coastal flooding caused by hurricanes and extratropical storms, but as we saw with Superstorm Sandy in 2012, storm surges associated with extreme weather events are becoming more destructive due to continued sea level rise,” the scientists wrote.
Parts of Queens, Brooklyn are rising
This study isn’t all doom and gloom for the country’s most populous city. Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg, Queens and Woodside neighborhoods are on the rise.
Scientists attributed the Brooklyn neighborhood’s rate to oil discharged from Newton Creek, which is located between Queens and Brooklyn and flows into the East River.
But for many New Yorkers, the outlook isn’t great.
Oceanographers and researchers in May found a study of the city It is home to more than a million buildings, weighing nearly 1.7 trillion pounds. The city is sinking between 0.03 to 0.08 inches annually, the study said.
The study said parts of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island showed signs of decline.
They concluded that each additional high-rise building constructed in a coastal, river or lake area contributes to future flood risk and “mitigation strategies may need to be included.”
Contributing: Camille Fine, Sybil Mayes-Osterman, USA TODAY.
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