Real Estate

Head for Copp’s Hill in that 2040 Hurricane – Sea Level Report is Dire for Boston

The Globe reports on a new study out this week showing the North End / Waterfront and much of Boston is likely to feel the worst of sea level rise as local tide levels “are rising three to four times faster than the global average.” Boston’s sea levels are forecasted to rise by 2 to 6 feet by the end of this century, increasing potential harm and flooding during storms in the coming decades.

Harborwalk flooding is already common at the New England Aquarium that has moved its electrical systems to higher floors and elevated its outside areas. From the Globe article:

“As we get further along with climate change, buildings in the city like the aquarium are going to have to look at anywhere water can penetrate,” said Bud Ris, its chief executive. “People are going to have to think about whether they need sandbags or automatic devices to close off their buildings during storms or high tides. They’re also going to have to think about drainage and how to divert water.”

The new study used tide gauge data to show that the region’s waters have risen between 2 millimeters and 3.7 millimeters per year over the past two decades, compared with the global average of 0.6 millimeters to 1 millimeter per year.

The following is excerpted from an interactive graphic developed by UMass Boston, showing that a 2.5 foot sea level rise and a storm with a 5 foot surge would largely flood most of the waterfront and periphery of the North End as well as low lying areas in Back Bay, South End East Boston and the Seaport area.

Boston Flooding with 2.5 Feet Sea Rise & 5 Foot Storm Surge (Globe Graphic – UMass Boston, Dr. Ellen M. Douglas)

View the Globe’s interactive graphic (subscription required).