A new report released by the United Nations says that global temperatures are rising faster than predicted a few years ago, and could lead to massive sea level increases if nothing is done.
The report, released late last month when world leaders gathered in New York for the UN Climate Summit, stated that increased temperatures will cause melting ice caps, which will raise sea levels around the world. And that will have profound impacts in many coastal communities, including here on Long Island.
“The climate emergency is a race we are losing — but it is a race we can win if we change our ways now,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said in the report. “Even our language has to adapt: What once was called ‘climate change’ is now truly a ‘climate crisis.’ … We are seeing unprecedented temperatures, unrelenting storms and undeniable science.”
According to the report, if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply reduced and global warming is kept below two degrees Celsius, sea levels could still rise by one to two feet by 2100. However, if nothing is done, the report says that rise could be two to nearly four feet.
An interactive map by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the impact of sea level rise around the country. Here on Long Island, a two-foot increase would inundate many coastal communities. Long Beach would see even more flooding than it does now. The northern bay-side of many South Shore beaches would be gone. The entire Long Island coastline would move further inland than it is now, destroying many homes.
A four-foot sea rise, though, would be much worse. The entire community of Island Park would be underwater. Sections of Long Beach would be uninhabitable. The southern end of Westhampton Beach would be gone.
The North Shore wouldn’t escape the deluge, either. Sunken Meadow Park would sink. The Nissequogue River would dramatically expand and flood its banks.