On YouTube: Nature Magazine - New York VS. The Sea
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, this three-page February 2013 Nature Magazine feature article (pdf) sheds light on what scientists and officials are doing to try and protect New York City from future floods

Malcolm Bowman, who heads the storm-surge modelling laboratory at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has spearheaded the drive for barriers. He imagines a structure roughly 8 kilometers wide and 6 meters high at the entrance to the harbor, and a second barrier where the East River drains into the Long Island Sound. The state panel's cost estimates for such a system range from $7 billion to $29 billion, depending on the design. The harbor barrier could also serve as a bridge for trains and vehicles to the city's airports, suggests Bowman. "My viewpoint is not that we should start pouring concrete next week, but I do think we need to do the studies," he says. But whether Sandy will push the city to build major defenses, Bowman says, "I don't know."

Bowman and other researchers argue that the city should commit to protecting all areas to a 500-year-flood standard (see image of storm surge map, below YouTube clip), but not all the solutions are physical. A growing chorus of academics and government officials stress that the city must also bolster its response capacity and shore up the basic social services that help people to rebuild and recover.

On YouTube ... Nature: Hurricane Sandy - The City After The Storm (February 2013)


Reporter  Jeff Tollefson tours the damage caused by Sandy

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