On Air: WBGO Radio - Superstorm Sandy (December 2012)
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News
December 7, 2012 - "Preparing for the Next Big Storm"
Duration: 5 minutes 05 seconds
SBU investigator Malcolm Bowman is featured throughout the broadcast

WBGO Radio's Alice Stockton-Rossini reports on some of the ideas circulating that might better protect the region from the next superstorm, including ones offered up by Stony Brook Storm Surge Research Group investigator Malcolm Bowman.

Seven years ago, just after Katrina, Bowman published his first New York Times Op-ED piece on climate change. He dared to ask, when would New York be next. And, when Superstorm Sandy hit, "it was like checking off the boxes — there goes the Hoboken train station, there goes the PATH train system under the Hudson River, there goes the brand new South Ferry subway station, there goes the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, there goes the FDR Drive, there go the subway tunnels under the East River going to Brooklyn and Queens. It was like a textbook, classic sequence of events, not that I was taking any pleasure out of it. It was horrifying to see it unfold exactly as we predicted.

Between warming ocean temperatures and sea level rise, Bowman predicts more extreme storms are in our future. "It's particularly serious on the East Coast, because [sea level] is going up more than the global average, which is a few inches every 100 years at the moment. The East Coast, especially the New York area, the sea is coming up nearly a foot a century. It doesn't sound like much, but that also means that future will ride on this ever-increasing baseline."

So, how do we prepare? Bowman likes the idea of a fixed barrier in the ocean. A large dam, gate or lock that would manage sea level rise, much like the Thames River barrier outside of London. "Let's call it an attractive raised interstate highway between Sandy Hook, New Jersey and Far Rockaway. It could form a by-pass between Northern New Jersey and Kennedy Airport.

Other storm surge mitigation practices, such as adding in giant berms, are also explored and discussed by other guests in the segment.

Towards the end of the discussion, Bowman poses the question, "The fiscal realities are in everybody's faces and so who is going to have the political courage to make decisions that are very far-reaching in time." 

For more details, check out the full interview (mp3).


About this program:

WBGO Journal is the station's award-winning half-hour news magazine. Hosted by Andrew Meyer, it airs on Fridays at 7:30 pm with news and stories that are "hard-hitting, informative and fun." Newark Public Radio, Inc.'s WBGO-FM is a cultural affiliate of National Public Radio.

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