“Am Strand” 1870, by Dutch painter Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer. Image source: Public Domain / Wikimedia
For centuries, Rotterdam and Hamburg have had to contend with the threat of storm surges and floods.
Now, as sea levels rise, planners are looking at innovative ways to make these cities more resilient, with new approaches that could hold lessons for vulnerable urban areas around the world.
But Klaus Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, says that society is still woefully unprepared for sea level increases later this century that will spare neither industrialized nor developing nations.
“We are still in denial that we can engineer ourselves out of this,” says Jacob. “The only truly reliable solution is retreating from low-lying areas…”
Dutch Unveil Plan In War Against The Sea: A Sandbar, AFP / TerraDaily (12-20-2011)
In its age-old war to keep back the sea, low-lying Netherlands has dumped sand onto a surface larger than 200 football fields just off the coast, and will wait for nature to do the rest…
We Need to Retreat From the Beach, Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey.
As ocean waters warm, the Northeast is likely to face more Sandy-like storms. And as sea levels continue to rise, the surges of these future storms will be higher and even more deadly. We can’t stop these powerful storms. But we can reduce the deaths and damage they cause…