Too Big to Flood? Megacities Face Future of Major Storm Risk

Bangkok Floods, Wat Arun, 30 October 2011. Photo source: ©© Philip Roeland


As economic activity and populations continue to expand in coastal urban areas, particularly in Asia, hundreds of trillions of dollars of infrastructure, industrial and office buildings, and homes are increasingly at risk from intensifying storms and rising sea levels.

By the middle of the century, the scores of billions it cost to compensate the greater New York City area for being unprepared for superstorm Sandy may seem like a bargain. Without major adaptation measures to increase the level of storm protection beyond a 1-in-100-year event, the value of the city’s buildings, transportation, and utilities utility infrastructures currently at risk from storm surges and flooding — an estimated $320 billion — will be worth $2 trillion by 2070, according to continuing studies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)…

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Bangkok Floods 2011. Photo source: ©© Philip Roeland