Thursday, June 14, 2012

Worst Decade to Come 2 - the Flood Decade

In all likelihood the floods will follow the killer heat, figure the 2080s or 2090s. It may well happen within the lifespan of people born today. We saw a clear prediction of this future in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina flooded 80% of the city of New Orleans.

All the future great floods will probably not happen in a single decade, they will probably stretch out over the course of a century. But one decade may well stand out as the worst.

Doomed Nations
The Maldives
The first to go will be the island nation of the Maldives.  With a highest point only eight feet above sea level even conservative projections of sea level rises has the nation totally disappearing this century. Add in the storm surge of a couple of powerful typhoons and the Maldives will cease to exist a great deal sooner.
With 150 million people, Bangladesh is the eight most populous nation on Earth. It is also one of the poorest. Sitting on the Ganges-Bramaputra River Delta where it empties into the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is quite literally between the devil and the deep blue sea. Most of the nation is less than 40 feet above sea level. Monsoonal flooding and Indian Ocean typhoons continually threaten floods from all sides.

Doomed Cities
Many of the great cities of the world face a flooded future.
New Orleans
Half of the city is already at or below sea level. The levees that keep the land dry also is causing subsidence. Add in sea level rise and it is predicted that one of the most historic cities in the United States will cease to exist this century.
The worst flood in Venice history was a just six feet above sea level. That could become a daily occurrence by the end of the century. Add in a flooding Po River and Adriatic storm surge and no amount of engineering jiggerypokery will save this great city. In fact, a six foot rise in the sea level will flood the entire Italian coast north of Ravenna.
Miami is a disaster in waiting. Just a three foot sea level rise will consume most of the city. Add in a 20-foot storm surge from an Atlantic hurricane and there is nothing humanity can do to keep Miami from a watery doom.

The Dutch have waged war against the sea for centuries. If human engineering can defeat the rising oceans the test will be Rotterdam. Parts of Rotterdam are already 20 feet below sea level and only kept dry by Dutch engineers. Even a three foot rise in the oceans will flood half of the Netherlands if nothing is done.

New York City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, Bangkok, Lagos, and Jakarta are all on the list of vulnerable cities for future flooding. This website lets you look at what even small sea level rises will do.

But there is even a worse decade out there in our future. Tomorrow, the Dark Decade.

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