Paper No. 38-35
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
SEA-LEVEL RISE: A GEOSPATIAL APPROACH TO COASTAL STABILITY IN STATEN ISLAND, NY
By the end of the 21st century, average global sea-levels are projected to rise by 1.0 m, threatening the lives of millions of people living in low-lying coastal communities. In New York City the vulnerability of Staten Island was made clear in 2012 when the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy inundated many neighborhoods on the Eastern and Southern shores of Staten Island, taking the lives of 23 Staten Island residents. Because the frequency of powerful hurricanes is expected to increase as global temperatures and sea-levels rise, a managed realignment strategy to move away from low-lying coastal regions will be of the utmost importance to protect lives and save millions of dollars in infrastructure. To understand which areas were most at risk from ocean inundation, a geospatial approach was utilized to understand how far inland the shoreline will migrate by analyzing present day erosion rates and wetland loss. Sea-levels are projected to rise between 390 mm and 625 mm by 2125, increasing the rate of coastline regression and inundation events. Analyzing the data from these models, the most threatened neighborhoods on Staten Island are Midland Beach, Gateway National Park, Oakwood, and South Beach, all of which are currently experiencing localized shoreline erosion rates currently greater than 4.0 m/yr. Understanding how Staten Island neighborhoods will respond to higher sea-levels will be very important for coastal researchers, city planners, and local residents to create a more resilient community in the wake of rising sea-levels.