New York City’s famed skyscraper skyline may be sinking the Big Apple, according to new research. Earth’s Future reports that New York City is sinking at an average rate of one to two millimeters each year due to the weight of its buildings (a total of 1.68 trillion pounds).
Three oceanologists from the University of Rhode Island and one from the U.S. Geological Survey watched the “subsidence rate,” which is the scientific term for how fast something is sinking. To figure out how fast New York City seems to be sinking, experts made geographic models that show how the weight of buildings presses down on the bedrock, clay, sand, and silt under some of the city.
Researchers said that Lower Manhattan, which is mostly made of concrete, is more likely to sink than most other parts of the city. As it is now, only one to two meters separates most of Lower Manhattan from the sea.
There is also more sinking in some parts of Brooklyn and Queens than in other parts of New York City.
Even though a one or two-millimeter drop per year might not seem like much, experts have warned that the city’s movement makes floods in the area more likely, especially since sea levels are already going up.
Researchers wrote that the danger of sea level rise along the Atlantic coast of North America is three to four times higher than the average around the world. This means that flooding is a big problem in New York. “New York City is home to 8.4 million people who live close to each other and are at varying degrees of risk from flooding.”
Since 1950, the water around New York City has risen about 9 inches or 22 cm. Because of climate change, which is causing sea levels to rise and leading to bad weather like storms, big flooding could be worse by the end of the century than it is now.
New York City needs urgent planning for this purpose as flooding does kill many people every year which is an alarming situation.