Rapid Subsidence Threatens New York City's Future: Which Cities in India Are at Risk?

New York City, the largest and most prominent city in the United States, is located in the northeastern part of the country, along the Atlantic Ocean and at the mouth of the Hudson River. A recent study has revealed that the city is sinking due to the collective weight of all its buildings. While this is a gradual process, it poses a significant threat to a city surrounded by the ocean. The global sea level is rising at an alarming rate, and scientists estimate that by 2050, it could increase by 8 to 30 inches.

The Impact of Climate Crisis and Human Intervention

Scientists warn that due to climate crisis and human intervention, several regions may experience continuous and intense rainfall, as well as frequent and severe cyclones and hurricanes. In a study conducted by the US Geological Survey, geophysicist, lead researcher, and author Tom Parsons stated, "We are continuously moving away from the sea."

Journal Earth's Future Study: Assessing the Risks

The purpose of a study published in the journal Earth's Future is to demonstrate how tall buildings in coastal, riverfront, or lakefront areas can contribute to the risks of future flooding and suggest measures to mitigate potential hazards. The study report also mentions recent incidents of significant storms, including Sandy and Ida, which caused flooding in New York City due to heavy rainfall and the impact of urbanization that caused some water from the rivers to enter the city.

New York City's Weight: Nearly 1.68 Trillion Pounds

Researchers studying the sinking of New York City calculated the weight of approximately 1,084,954 buildings in the city's five boroughs during the present time. The conclusion reached was that their combined weight is approximately 1.68 trillion pounds (762 billion kilograms). In other words, it is equivalent to the fully loaded weight of nearly 19 million Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

Rate of Subsidence in New York City: 1-2 Millimeters Per Year

To assess the impact of the weight of tall buildings on the ground, the research team utilized simulations and compared them with actual satellite data displaying the surface of the Earth. The analysis revealed the rate at which the city is sinking. Tom Parsons explained, "On average, New York City is sinking at a rate of approximately 1 to 2 millimeters per year. In some areas, the subsidence rate is even higher, around 4½ millimeters per year."

Subsidence Occurring in 44 Out of 48 Areas

Subsidence refers to the process by which the Earth's surface sinks or subsides due to natural or human-induced factors. A study conducted in September 2022 found that out of the 48 most populous coastal cities in the world, 44 are experiencing rapid subsidence compared to the rising sea levels. The report states that certain areas in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens are sinking at a rate higher than the average.