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Bye Hoboken, as you drown in climate-changed caused floods
February 22, 2008 1:57 AM   Subscribe

New Jersey is drowning, or rather it would if the the future as predicted by David Spratty & Philip Sutton in climate code red comes true. Philip Sutton said in an interview that "within five years the Arctic ice in the summertime will be all gone.". With all the ice melting, the waterlevels rise - will your house be under water?
posted by dabitch (66 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hait tip to projects I guess.
posted by dabitch at 1:58 AM on February 22, 2008


Hoboken's a nice little town, I'd hate to see it drown. Jersey City, on the other hand...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:30 AM on February 22, 2008


Yeah, boy, I hate it when the ice in my drink melts and it overflows.

Oh, wait.

All the Arctic ice can melt and it won't make any difference in sea levels. It's floating on top of the water, and like the ice in your drink, the net fluid level doesn't change as it melts.

It's the ice in Antarctica that matters. That's sitting on land, and if it turns to liquid and flows into the sea.... well, so long, New Jersey.
posted by Malor at 2:39 AM on February 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


...well, so long, New Jersey.

And good lordy mercy, that's gonna be some way toxic floodwaters.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:53 AM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm a couple miles from the beach and I'm kinda disappointed that the beach won't be getting much closer (according to the floodmap). The only developed area to go underwater is the 'touristy' part of Pismo Beach, a chunk of State Parkland will be lost (and the only access to Morro Rock and the Pismo Dunes will be by swimming), and the expensive homes in Avila Beach will lose part of their ocean-view golf course - and the road that connects them to the rest of the world. But both Pacific Coast Highway and State Route 101 will stay above water (at one point in Downtown Pismo it'll get close) and everything else along the Central California Coast will be mostly unaffected.

That means we'll be overrun by refugees from the former New Jersey and Florida, doesn't it?
posted by wendell at 3:02 AM on February 22, 2008


Holy snap...at +7m, goodbye Charleston, SC, pretty much.
posted by pax digita at 3:08 AM on February 22, 2008


With all the ice melting, the waterlevels rise - will your house be under water?

No, I live on the second floor. I will miss OX. Damn you nature, this is why we can't have anything nice.
posted by ryoshu at 3:11 AM on February 22, 2008


I predict that New Jersey isn't going to disappear under the waves. Consider that a significant portion of The Netherlands lies below sea level AND the country is innundated by water flowing in from rivers. Somehow those people manage to keep their houses dry.
Surely the Dutch will be willing to share some of their know-how with the people of New Jersey?
posted by three blind mice at 3:14 AM on February 22, 2008


Surely the Dutch will be willing to share some of their know-how with the people of New Jersey?

Perhaps, but only if we'll go back to the old name for that little island off the coast of Jersey, that is, Nieuw Amsterdam.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:21 AM on February 22, 2008


> this is why we can't have anything nice.

Sure you can--as long as you don't expect to keep it for more than a geologic instant. As those of us who were around for the cretaceous can tell you, the sea level and coastlines change all the time.
posted by jfuller at 3:26 AM on February 22, 2008


Those of us on the third coast (Great Lakes) always wonder what happens here. The climate-scare maps never show it.
posted by nax at 3:51 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I predict that New Jersey isn't going to disappear under the waves. Consider that a significant portion of The Netherlands lies below sea level AND the country is innundated by water flowing in from rivers. Somehow those people manage to keep their houses dry.

Surely the Dutch will be willing to share some of their know-how with the people of New Jersey


Sure, but that requires money, infrastructure and expertise -- #'s 1 and 3 we're hemorrhaging (literally and figuratively) at an alarming rate, with our 'wars of choice' and whatnot. #2, we've known about. If we were unable to fix the levees of N.O., do you really think we're going to be able to save coastal NJ? Brooklyn? The fancy new baseball stadium they're finishing in southwest DC? Maybe, if those sportsfans get up from their beer and barcaloungers and decide to participate in the 'real' world. Otherwise, I anticipate a great deluge if the shoreline rises.
posted by vhsiv at 4:09 AM on February 22, 2008


So this is the revenge of the underwater guy who controls the sea.
posted by randomination at 4:13 AM on February 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's the ice in Antarctica that matters. That's sitting on land, and if it turns to liquid and flows into the sea.... well, so long, New Jersey.

I hear Greenland is melting very rapidly, as well.
posted by Mach5 at 4:51 AM on February 22, 2008


Yeah, boy, I hate it when the ice in my drink melts and it overflows... Oh, wait.... All the Arctic ice can melt and it won't make any difference in sea levels.

You're completely wrong, of course, because the coverage of ice versus water in the arctic is a factor in how much heat-inducing radiation is reflected away from the planet thus reducing overall warming. Sea ice reflects radiation; water absorbs it. And of course, the whole issue comes into play that whatever natural force is capable of melting all arctic ice would probably have at least a slight effect on Greenland- remember Greenland?- what with it being part of the Arctic and all, and which is, as I'm pretty sure you know, an actual land mass- in fact, the second-largest ice mass on the planet after Antarctica.

But, seriously, that drink analogy was clearly more clever now than it was when Rush Limbaugh hawked it about ten years ago. Really.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:52 AM on February 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


> Those of us on the third coast (Great Lakes) always wonder what happens here. The climate-scare maps never show it.

Not enough panic potential. Lake Ontario, the lowest, is ~250 feet above sea level. All the others are 570 - 600 feet above s. l. (Reference)
posted by jfuller at 5:00 AM on February 22, 2008


greenland is where it's at.
posted by Mister_A at 5:05 AM on February 22, 2008


Oh, drop dead, XQUZ. I'm trying to point out that the Arctic ice melting, in and of itself, will not cause the sea level to rise. What I stated was 100% correct, and there's no reason whatsoever to haughtily "correct" me, much less compare me to Windbaugh.

If you want to be worried about the climate, you go right ahead. You just make damn sure that what you claim is right. Incorrect statements, like this FPP's, only damage the credibility of those making the claims. Arctic ice being gone in five years is a big deal, but it's incorrect to imply that NJ is going to instantly drown.
posted by Malor at 5:15 AM on February 22, 2008


And your arguing about Greenland is irrelevant, btw, because that won't be gone in five years. It's the SEA ICE that will melt that fast, and the direct effect on NJ will be essentially zero. The indirect effects could be profound, but that's going to take a good long while yet.
posted by Malor at 5:21 AM on February 22, 2008


At +7m, the White House is distinctly soggy too.
posted by kcds at 5:28 AM on February 22, 2008


Malor, every year it is discovered that Greenland's ice shield is melting in newer faster ways than we suspected were possible. No, it won't be gone in five years. Without the surrounding sea ice it will definitely be gone in a hundred. Figures like fifty or twenty-five are open to debate.
posted by localroger at 5:36 AM on February 22, 2008


I would be careful about publicizing this information. The possibility of drowning New Jersey might serve as an argument against fixing global warming.
posted by nasreddin at 5:39 AM on February 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maior: I think you miss the point. The arctic ice melting, in and of itself, will cause the sea level to rise.

Do we have to send a shout-out to asavage here? Ice in a drink doesn't overflow. Ice on a table does. Greenland and Antarctica are ice on a table.
posted by BrianBoyko at 5:40 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll bet you $100 that in five years nothing significant will have happened, but Metafilter will still be shrilly freaking out about impending doom.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:05 AM on February 22, 2008


Sure, but from the FPP's phrasing, it sounds directly linked, that NJ will drown in five years. That's not going to happen. The sea ice will disappear, and absolutely nothing will change about the sea level from that event alone.

That ice being gone will certainly accelerate other melting. It matters. It's terribly important, in fact. But NJ will not be underwater in five years, at least not from this.
posted by Malor at 6:05 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


But NJ will not be underwater in five years

/me backs away from the scuba shop
posted by ryoshu at 6:12 AM on February 22, 2008


/me backs away from the scuba shop

Which is a pity, since now is the right time to look at the corals. They're very temperature sensitive, so you may not be able to do so much longer.
posted by DreamerFi at 6:40 AM on February 22, 2008


My house will be fine, but I'm going to miss Fells Point.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:48 AM on February 22, 2008


I'll bet you $100 that in five years nothing significant will have happened

I might take that bet if we could agree on a working definition of "nothing significant" -- to you, to me, to the polar bear population....?
posted by pax digita at 6:48 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, China is totally screwed at 7m sea level rise. The three major new industrial and port centers of Tianjin, The Pearl River Delta and espiecially the Yangtze Delta are all under water. Make me wonder if the leaders in the CCP are thinking anything else besides "fuck".
posted by afu at 6:53 AM on February 22, 2008


Make me wonder if the leaders in the CCP are thinking anything else besides "fuck".

Paging Abiezer, to translate "fuck" into Chinese...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:55 AM on February 22, 2008


Doesn't the density of water change somewhat based on the salinity and tempurature? I've heard the glass of water thing before but are we actually able to extrapoloate the real affects of warming all that water by a degree or two and melting all that ice? Also what is the potential for more snowfall in the arctic due to the open water such is observed with lake effect snow fall? Will we see a shifting of ice from the open ocean to the land surfaces around the arctic? Also in the event of increased precipitation in the arctic regions, will there be rapid erosion of soils which developed in cold and dry conditions?
posted by humanfont at 6:57 AM on February 22, 2008


It's the ice in Antarctica that matters.

Antarctica is predicted to warm up more slowly than most of the rest of the world, since it's surrounded by ocean. So yeah, Greenland is the one to watch.

Those of us on the third coast (Great Lakes) always wonder what happens here.

Water levels on the lakes will probably get lower.
posted by sfenders at 7:00 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


people forget all the oil and chemical infrastructure that is already vulnerable in Louisiana.
posted by eustatic at 7:08 AM on February 22, 2008


Doesn't the density of water change somewhat based on the salinity and tempurature?

Dunno about scientifically exact parameters or anything, but I guess the answer would be "somewhat": I once heard a chief petty officer on a fast-attack sub, qualified as a Diving Officer (the go-to guy for managing the boat's neutral buoyancy), allude to how going in and out of the (relatively warm) Gulf Stream would mess up the depth settings, causing him extra work to get the boat "dialed in" all over again to keep to the ordered depth. And I imagine entering an estuary/sound where the outflow of a river drops the salinity means the water's a little bit denser there too.
posted by pax digita at 7:15 AM on February 22, 2008


I for one welcome our new dikes of New Jersey and Washington State, and look forward to viewing the Fjords of Vermont and the inland sea of Georgia.

To think, swimming in the once proud amusement parks that are now the coral reefs and bayous of the Florida Archipeligo. Though, watch out for sharks and mutated salt water crocodiles.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 7:21 AM on February 22, 2008


If it went the whole 14 meters possible on that google map hack, I'd be an easy walk from the beach. Of course, the "beach" in that case would be a half-submerged railway line from which I could view lots and lots of half-submerged communist-era apartment buildings crumbling in the waves.
posted by pracowity at 7:25 AM on February 22, 2008


swimming in the once proud amusement parks that are now the coral reefs

You know, roller coasters would make awesome coral reefs. I don't feel so bad about my entire state being submerged, now.
posted by misha at 7:30 AM on February 22, 2008


If it went the whole 14 meters possible on that google map hack

... in your lifetime? Seems about as likely as human civilization being destroyed by a giant meteorite impact in the next few years. The implicit suggestion by that first link that people alive today are likely to see a 7m rise in sea level is pretty stupid now that I think about it. Just contributes to the impression some people have of those concerned about global warming as being unreasonably alarmist. 1m might be a relatively more reasonable possibility, though still unlikely. 0.5cm/year would be 0.25 metres in 50 years, and from what little I know would be a considerably more realistic guess at the worst likely outcome.
posted by sfenders at 7:37 AM on February 22, 2008


If New Jersey drowns, there's always Pennsylvania to take its place.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:42 AM on February 22, 2008


The flooding in Hoboken is already atrocious. Last year, two feet of fetid water seeped into my apartment building. It turns out that the west end of Hoboken used to be a marsh, i.e. most of Hoboken started out being underwater to begin with. At some point, the western part of Hoboken was drained to develop real estate.

recent flooding

west end of hoboken used to be underwater
posted by notoriousbhc at 7:42 AM on February 22, 2008


Lots of areas along the Jersey coast were wetlands at one point or another. The marshes were filled in to make them usable land long before we realized wetlands serve ecological purposes and are not just swampy wastelands. On the plus side, there's plenty of space for suburbs. On the downside, NJ suffers massive localized flooding.

14M+ rise brings a whole new meaning to Pennsylvania's motto "America starts here", eh?
posted by Crash at 8:11 AM on February 22, 2008


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America: "I'll bet you $100 that in five years nothing significant will have happened, but Metafilter will still be shrilly freaking out about impending doom."

I want you all to know that every time one of you makes a long-term prediction like this, I log it with futureme.org. I'm gonna follow up with you guys.
Especially you, MPDSEA. It'll be fun to discuss the global biodiversity loss, complete melting of Arctic sea ice, continued atmospheric CO2 increase, continued deforestation of the major continents, extinction of the polar bears, continued desertification of Africa, continued bleaching of the coral reefs, opening of a Northwest Passage, the impending resource wars over water... that's enough for now.

Just so you guys know. Your bold claims are being watched. By my future self.
posted by lostburner at 8:16 AM on February 22, 2008


Heh, west Philly turns into primo ocean front property.
posted by carter at 8:24 AM on February 22, 2008


Unfortunately the arctic ice isn't cooperating by actually melting
posted by A189Nut at 8:45 AM on February 22, 2008


If it went the whole 14 meters possible on that google map hack

We need to do everything possible to stop this from happening. I mean, not only would the loss of life and property be incalculably devastating, but more importantly, it would mean that Waterworld was right. And I can't live in a world where a bad Costner sci-fi is prescient.
posted by quin at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2008


Hmm,
I shouldn't joke about this, but judging by the map linked to, I will walk less than 200 feet from my front door in Jersey City and be able to have a nice swim. My goal has always been to have waterfront property someday when I'm old. Careful what you wish for, and all that.
posted by stagewhisper at 9:11 AM on February 22, 2008


I'm stuck in the mud somewhere in the rapidly growing swamps of Jersey.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:15 AM on February 22, 2008


well, I'll still be above sea level. ;)
posted by caddis at 9:33 AM on February 22, 2008


My question is why didn't President Obama do something to help stop this? I'm totally voting Republican in 2012.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:52 AM on February 22, 2008


That's it - I'm backing fossil fuel consumption. My house will not only be fine, but it'll be lakeside property. I can flip this bad boy after the poles melt for a bundle!

(And, for folks living on the south side of Elliot Bay, I'd move now. Seattle itself will be fine, but south Seattle is going to sprout a new inlet.)
posted by FormlessOne at 9:53 AM on February 22, 2008


I'll bet you $100 that in five years nothing significant will have happened, but Metafilter will still be shrilly freaking out about impending doom.

I'll make it $10,000. Nothing will happen in... wait... did you say five years? That's 2013, dude. Daniel Pinchbeck clearly states that the Mayans clearly stated that in 2012 the collective unconscious will wake up from its long sleep and the DMT elves will begin calling in all they've loaned us. All that will be left of this planet in 2013 will be a desolate rocky surface and the ghost of a goa track playing at the edge of awareness.

And hallucinogens totally never lie.
posted by bunnytricks at 9:54 AM on February 22, 2008


At 7m, all of Venice is gone, except the area round the Rialto Bridge, which is where it all started.

Incidentally, do these maps correct for building height? I seem to remember seeing something similar for the UK, which showed the effects on London being much less bad than they will be, because the altitude on the satellite map was the altitude of the tops of the buildings below.
posted by athenian at 10:00 AM on February 22, 2008


Los Angeles holds up pretty well even at +14m. Marina del Rey is underwater along with some of the area south of Torrance and into Long Beach, but hey, it'll be nice to be the ones laughing when everybody else slides into the ocean instead of us.

Sucks to be Sacramento. All that way inland and still underwater.
posted by Justinian at 10:36 AM on February 22, 2008


I'll bet you $100 that in five years nothing significant will have happened, but Metafilter will still be shrilly freaking out about impending doom.

I'll bet $1000 that in five years, regardless of what happens with the climate, if the Internet is still working MPSEA will probably be trolling it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:01 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


“So this is the revenge of the underwater guy who controls the sea.”
Perhaps his squarepants are fitted too tightly.

I’m attempting not to scoff at you gentlemen betting with dollars. As though those are going to be worth something in the future.

Would the loss of artic sea ice be significant?

In consideration of the opposition I have seen here to merely turning off the lights in unused rooms for one hour, I shall bet $500,000 that in 5 years we will continue to see signs of climate change and there will still be resistance to doing anything, at all, to curtail it.
posted by HVAC Guerilla at 2:05 PM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I heard our state climatologist (whom I actually know personally) say that these huge sea level rises in incredibly short periods of time are hyperbole. The sea level will NOT rise 7m in five years unless we see a radical increase in the earth's temperature in that time.

What he did say was that we could be looking at a sea level rise on the Inconvenient Truth levels over 200-500 years. Even in the Seattle area, though, it's hard to tell what that will mean, since it's an area with a lot of uplift. The studies from the state of Washington noted that the Washington coast has risen a foot over the last 100 years, offsetting the 8" increase in sea level over that period.

I wouldn't put too much credence into a 7m rise. If it rises that fast over five years, we'll have far bigger problems to worry about, like the radical increase in volcanic activity and the ginormous hurricanes from the hot seas.
posted by dw at 2:18 PM on February 22, 2008


R.I.P., Topsail Island, NC.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:13 PM on February 22, 2008


Volcanic activity? Huh?
posted by Malor at 3:17 PM on February 22, 2008


"And If Venice is Sinking"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:29 PM on February 22, 2008


Volcanic activity? Huh?

Some studies suggest that in times in the past when the Earth has heated up, volcanic activity increases, and the faster the rise, the more massive the activity is.

In a sense, it's like a safety valve. If it gets too hot, the volcanoes spew ash, cast a pall over the Earth, and trigger an Ice Age.

And before you say that I'm being all "oh the volcanoes will save us," we're talking about rapid changes here. Like up 6F, down 9F within a century. Palm trees in Seattle in 2050, glaciers in Seattle in 2150. And Seattle buried in a Mount Rainier lahar in 2100.

Of course, there's also the question of whether the heatup will kill the Gulf Stream and we have another Younger Dryas.
posted by dw at 4:53 PM on February 22, 2008


I think whoever you were reading got their cause and effect backwards. Volcanic activity on a large scale could easily release lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but it strikes me as pretty unlikely that lots of CO2 would cause volcanic activity.

This is particularly true over the short timeframes you're talking about; the ground wouldn't warm up that much in just 100 years. Volcanic activity comes from powerful forces deep underground; the last few hundred yards on the surface are almost entirely irrelevant.
posted by Malor at 4:57 PM on February 22, 2008


Well, I think you all should know that water levels go up and down. While maybe in 5 years New Jersey won't be permanently underwater, perhaps a once in a century storm could do some fair amount of damage.
posted by CrazyJoel at 7:31 PM on February 22, 2008


In a sense, it's like a safety valve. If it gets too hot, the volcanoes spew ash, cast a pall over the Earth, and trigger an Ice Age.

It would take some serious evidence to convince me that a planet reacts to atmospheric temperature increases of a few degrees with increased volcanic activity. What is the mechanism? The earth isn't a living thing that can decide to spew out some ash to decrease temperatures; there has to be a physical feedback mechanism involved and I don't see how a couple degrees could possibly make volcanoes erupt.
posted by Justinian at 8:03 PM on February 22, 2008


I think whoever you were reading got their cause and effect backwards. Volcanic activity on a large scale could easily release lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but it strikes me as pretty unlikely that lots of CO2 would cause volcanic activity.

It's not the CO2, it's the warming. Idea is that the melting ice pack will alter the weight distribution, the increased amount of water in the oceans will change the loads on plates, and that will trigger volcanic eruptions.

Here's the basic argument (WSJ, might not work, YMMV). There's a lot of contention around this, of course, since there's still a lot of mystery as to how tectonic plates really function.
posted by dw at 9:50 PM on February 22, 2008


Wow, that's really interesting. Yes, that could be true. Whoah.
posted by Malor at 1:58 AM on February 23, 2008


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