Boston Mounts an Aggressive Plan to Battle Sea Level Rise Flooding

Much of Boston, MA, is built on landfill, which makes it especially vulnerable to sea level rise flooding. With estimates ranging anywhere from 10 inches of global sea level rise to over seven feet by the end of this century, the city is mounting an aggressive plan to hold back the rising seas, according to a Washington Post article.

With over nine inches of sea level rise racked up since the beginning of the last century, areas of Boston are already experiencing sea level rise flooding that’s especially noticeable during extra high king tides in the fall.

To fight back against sea level rise flooding and the higher than normal storm surges it can bring, the Boston’s mayor is dedicating more than $30 million a year to address the problem. Among the projects are elevating streets and parks, and building higher berms and sea walls. City officials are concerned that they’re not doing enough to protect residents and real estate in the poorest neighborhoods, but they are considering options.

Despite the effort to combat sea level rise, Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University, told the Post, Boston and other coastal cities may still ultimately have to retreat from the rising seas. He said, “It is what a lot of cities will have to do because a lot of neighborhoods are not defensible.”

Boston’s experience with sea level rise flooding as discussed in this article is yet another example of why buyers, sellers, owners and real estate agents in coastal areas need to educate themselves on which properties and neighborhoods are experiencing sea level rise flooding and what, if anything, can be done to hold back the rising tides.

NOAA Official Says It’s Time To Call It “Sea Level Rise Flooding”

An official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told a Boston-area newspaper that it’s time to stop calling the chronic tidal flooding that’s plaguing coastal communities “king tides.” William Sweet, an oceanographer with the agency, told the Patriot Ledger that king tides — higher than normal tides that occur due to an alignment of the earth, sun and moon — have always been around, but they’ve only started to flood many locations in recent years. “We might as well call it what it is,” he told a reporter. “It’s sea level rise flooding.” The Patriot Ledger article by Jessica Trufant does an excellent job of explaining the sea level rise flooding problem and the threat it poses to coastal real estate.

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