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As Rising Oceans Threaten NYC, Study Documents Another Risk: The City Is Sinking

By 05/30/2023 11:16 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

If rising sea levels weren’t concerning enough, now there’s another problem that New York City must contend with the city is gradually sinking under the weight of its buildings, houses, asphalt, and people.

According to recent studies, the city’s landmass is subsiding on average at 1 to 2 millimeters yearly, or “subsidence.”

The natural process of earth compression occurs worldwide, but the study, which was recently published in the journal Earth’s Future, attempted to quantify how the enormous weight of the city is accelerating the process.

The city’s five boroughs are home to more than 1 million buildings.

The research team estimated that the total weight of all those structures is around 1.7 trillion tons (1.5 trillion metric tons) of concrete, metal, and other materials.

The city is compressed at different rates.

According to the study, some Brooklyn, Queens, and downtown Manhattan areas are on looser soil and sinking faster.

In contrast, most of Midtown Manhattan’s skyscrapers are constructed on rock, compressing very little.

Tom Parsons, the principal investigator, and a U.S. According to the Geological Survey, the city will someday have portions under water.

It is unavoidable.

The water is rising as the ground is sinking.

The two layers will eventually meet, according to Parsons, whose job it is to foresee dangerous catastrophes like earthquakes, tsunamis, and slight disturbances in the Earth underneath us.

But Parsons reassured that there was no immediate need to buy life preservers.

According to him, the study only observes that structures are inconspicuously changing the landscape.

To conclude, Parsons and his research team used data modeling, satellite imaging, and several mathematical assumptions.

It will be hundreds of years before New York resembles Venice in America, infamously disappearing into the Adriatic Sea; the exact time is unknown.

The risk is more significant in some areas of the city.

Parsons especially mentioned Manhattan, saying, “There’s a lot of weight there, a lot of people there.” “The average elevation in the southern part of the island is only 1 or 2 meters (3.2 or 6.5 feet) above sea level — it is very close to the waterline, and it is a deep concern.”

The Earth’s changing climate may hasten the time it takes for parts of the city to submerge because the ocean is rising at a similar rate to how quickly the land is sinking.

“That doesn’t imply we should stop erecting structures. The structures themselves are not the only reason for this, though.

There are numerous causes, according to Parsons. The intention was to draw attention to this beforehand before it worsens.

Massive storms that have the potential to bring heavy rain and ocean swell inland have already put New York City at risk of floods.

As seen by Superstorm Sandy a decade ago and the still-active aftereffects of Hurricane Ida two years ago, the ensuing floods might have detrimental and fatal effects.

Andrew Kruczkiewicz, a senior researcher at Columbia University’s Climate School who was not involved in the study, said, “From a scientific perspective, this is an important study.”

Its conclusions could assist in guiding policymakers as they create continuing efforts to battle or, at the very least, prevent the rising tides.

We can’t wait for a critical level of sea level rise to be reached, he warned, “because doing so could prevent us from taking preventive action and preparation steps.”

New Yorkers, like Tracy Miles, can first be skeptical.

Miles remarked, “I think it’s a made-up narrative. He paused to reflect once more as he observed sailboats circling midtown Manhattan. “There are too many skyscrapers, apartment buildings, business offices, and retail spaces here.”

Not only New York City is losing ground. Additionally, San Francisco is exerting significant pressure on the earth and the active seismic faults in the area.

The government of Indonesia is getting ready to relocate from Jakarta, which is submerging into the Java Sea, to a new capital that is being built on the higher ground of a completely different island.



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