New York City is sinking due to a combination of heavy skyscrapers throughout the city and rising sea levels, according to a study published last week.
The study, which was published in the peer-reviewed American Geophysical Union journal, discussed the general dangers of heavily built-up coastal cities but emphasized New York City.
According to the study, the sea level is projected to rise by 200-600 mm. by 2050, but heavily built-up cities like New York City will be subjected to subsequent sinking at a rate of four times faster than more sparsely built areas.
The dangers posed to New York City are direr because of real estate as opposed to climate change. While climate change is leading to rising sea levels, the risk to New York is actually greater due to the large number of heavy skyscrapers in the city and the fact that the real estate is not suited to withstand natural disasters.
Due to the dense population of New York City, which currently numbers 8.4 million, and the fact that Manhattan lies between one and two meters above sea level, New York City ranks third in the world in terms of assets exposed to threats of flooding.
While the whole city is at risk, the study stated that due to its location, bedrock and weight of its buildings, specifically lower Manhattan is at risk, with Brooklyn and Manhattan causing geologists the most concern.
The danger is exacerbated by natural disasters
The study warned that the slow rate at which New York is sinking makes the city more vulnerable to natural disasters. This is due, in part, to the fact that greenhouse gas in the city is reducing the natural wind barrier along the US East Coast, causing hurricanes to intensify and be more dangerous.
Another element that puts New York City at risk is that the buildings, including those built since Hurricane Sandy, are not suited to withstand the force of hurricanes.