Population Plus Climate: Why Coastal Cities Will Face Increased Risks From Floods

Science & Space

Living in New York, it’s easy to forget that the ocean is right on our doorsteps. This isn’t Miami with its beaches or Venice with its canals or New Orleans with its history of storms and floods. New York has always been a supremely self-involved city—this famous magazine cover pretty much sums it up—and though Manhattan is an island, it’s one that has its eyes turned inward, not out toward the water that rings it.

Hurricane Sandy ended that illusion last year. The storm surge flooded tunnels, subway lines and apartment buildings; swamped power lines and transformers caused a blackout over much of Manhattan that lasted for days. Altogether Sandy cost the city of New York some $19 billion in public and private losses, nearly all of it due to the water. Sandy wasn’t even that powerful a storm, its winds barely ranking as a category 1 when it made…

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