By Jeff Spross July 21, 2014 at 1:01 pmUpdated: July 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm
Boston, Massachusetts. CREDIT: Shutterstock
Flooding from sea level rise is threatening to wash away many of Boston’s historical buildings and archaeological sites, according to WGBH News.
In 2012, the city was spared when Hurricane Sandy turned west and slammed into New York instead. But the close call sparked a May conference of experts and stakeholders to consider what would have happened if Sandy had hit Boston. What they discovered was that historic sites like Faneuil Hall and the Blackstone Block of colonial streets — which sit within the city’s 100-year tidal flood zone — would already have been flooded three times since Sandy if storms had hit during high tide instead of low. A May report by the Union of Concerned Scientists noted both sites as some of the most at-risk in the entire country thanks to increased flooding from climate change and sea level rise.
The group also reported that since 1921, Boston has 20 instances of high tides with waves 3.5 feet taller than normal. Half of those instances hit within the last decade.
“When you start thinking about where the ocean is going to come in and how big the ocean is, and you start thinking about how the water will flow, you realize that these beautiful old buildings are right at the forefront of this issue,” said Boston Environment Commissioner Nancy Girard.
The Boston Harbor Association, which provided the May conference with many of its numbers, also released a report with an interactive map that tracks flooding in the city according to 5-foot and 7.5 foot coastal floods.