Policymakers may trumpet the Paris Agreement, signed this year, which aims to cut carbon emissions enough to hold global warming to a target of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures, but even if the accord succeeds, some change is “locked in,” because we’ve already spewed so much carbon into the atmosphere. Using a special 3-D mouse, I swooped like a drone over a familiar reference point at the corner of Canal and Varick Streets: the landmarked former industrial building that houses this magazine’s offices.
Strauss added that in Antarctica, enormous glaciers appear to be melting faster than previously estimated, making the current worst-case projections look more and more like probabilities. With one foot of sea-level rise, the map didn’t change that much.
“When I saw it, I said, ‘Oh, God, I can’t do this, this is against all my professional ethos,’ ” Jacob said.
“There are other considerations in life that enter into these decisions.
High tides will spill over old bulkheads when there is a full moon. All the commercial skyscrapers, housing, cultural institutions that currently sit near the waterline will be forced to contend with routine inundation.
And cataclysmic floods will become more common, because, to put it simply, if the baseline water level is higher, every storm surge will be that much stronger.
The ground floor of his quaint clapboard house was a jumble of furniture, and he pointed to a pen mark two feet up the wall — the height the water had reached.
Many of those who lived around him fared worse; there were huge piles of debris up and down his street. ” Jacob’s personal disaster illustrated, in microcosm, how difficult it can be for anyone, even scientists, to pay heed to science.
We now know, without scientific question, that the Earth is warming fast, that 2016 is on pace to be the hottest year in the books, setting a record for the third year in a row. To begin to fathom what the future could hold for New York, I went to the Princeton office of a research organization called Climate Central, which has developed programs that map out sea-level projections.
Climate scientist Ben Strauss set me up on the most advanced version, which uses 3-D Google Earth imagery, and apprised me of the latest gloomy research.