A recent study published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that we could be facing significant consequences of a rising sea level, brought on by climate change, sooner rather than later in New England.
High-tide flooding is directly related to the rising sea level. Most of the flooding is seen as a nuisance, but cumulatively, it can have a significant impact on infrastructure. In Boston, the peak number of these high-tide flood days occurred in 2017, with 22 events.
On average, we see about six of these high-tide flood days per year. This study indicates that number will grow to between 11 and 18 this year, to between 20 and 35 by 2030, and to a staggering 45-to-95 range by 2050.
The report uncovers similar findings in Portland, Maine; Woods Hole and Nantucket in Massachusetts; Newport and Providence in Rhode Island; and New London and Bridgeport in Connecticut. That's not to mention the hundreds of other coastal communities in the United States seeing similar effects.
Most of these high-tide flood events occurred during the winter in New England. That is concerning because we typically see our greatest potential of storm surge and coastal flooding during winter nor'easters. Due to climatology and prevailing wind direction, we are more likely to experience major flooding during one of these winter storms.
As the frequency of these events begin to increase, the probability that one will coincide with a winter coastal storm also increases.
See the full report from the NOAA below.