USGS Head: East Coast Cities “Sitting Ducks” For Climate Change, Storms

Coming soon again - and again, and again.

Coming soon again – and again, and again.

The Guardian reports that departing head of the US Geological Survey, Marcia McNutt, has warned that East Coast cities have been stripped of their natural protections by Hurricane Sandy and are now highly vulnerable to any storm at all, as well as rising seas caused by climate change.

“Superstorm Sandy was a threshold for the north-east and we have already crossed it,” McNutt told the National Council for Science and the Environment conference in Washington. “For the next storm, not even a super storm, even a run-of-the-mill nor’easter, the amount of breaches and the amount of coastal flooding will be widespread.”

…”Before Sandy, someone asked me what my climate change nightmare was. Before Sandy, I said it was that with the extra energy in the atmosphere-ocean system it feeds super storms that intersect mega-cities left rendered defenceless by rising seas,” McNutt said in a brief interview following her public remarks. “That is where we now are.”

…”Basically these dunes build up over geologic time, and yet the superstorm wore them down over a couple of days, and it is going to take geologic time again to build them back up,” McNutt said. “It is possible with bulldozers and engineering and millions of dollars to do with engineering what Mother Nature used to do for free.”

However, McNutt conceded that this was a daunting prospect given existing fiscal constraints. Republicans in the house have already balked at the $50m in immediate relief for Sandy that went to the house on Tuesday.

Republican climate denialism and budget obstructivism will be the death of at least some of us, not that they care.

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