Earth Day 2022: Coastal flooding continues to increase in frequency

Wrightsville Beach
Wrightsville Beach
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 9:20 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Back in 2016, Climate Central released their report “Unnatural Coastal Floods.” For the Wilmington area, 115 days of flooding were recorded from 1955 to 1984. From 1985 to 2014, 678 days of coastal flooding were recorded.

Climate research continues to see more frequent severe weather, increases in global temperature and damage to ecosystems due to human intervention. But while the increase and global temperatures sounds pretty simple, climate change affects different areas in different ways.

Climate Central’s Surging Seas Risk Finder tool shows that, with current climate change projections, the risk of at least one flood over 4 feet tall will continue to increase each year. The risk of a flood at least 4 feet high each year is predicted to be around 2 percent by 2040 and 10 percent each year by 2060. By 2100, every year is likely to bring flooding over 4 feet high to the Cape Fear region.

The North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies research determined that warming temperatures, intense precipitation and rising sea levels are some of the key issues that the state faces.

Nights have been getting hotter, and extreme rainfall events have become more common. Research suggests that increased flooding will cause serious damage to low-lying buildings and beaches.

The silver lining? Plenty of solutions have been proposed for mitigating climate change. North Carolina State University’s breakdown explains that collective action between governments at every level can mitigate global temperature increases.

Transportation is one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gasses. Public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and electric vehicles can all reduce GHG emissions. The IPCC agrees; walkable cities mitigate climate change by reducing the need to drive a car. Nuclear and renewable energy can reduce reliance on more wasteful forms of energy production.

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report also recommends more energy efficient buildings. For individuals, re-using items when possible and minimizing waste can both reduce the amount of junk filling up landfills.

“Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea. “This report shows how taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.”

52 years after the founding of Earth Day, challenges remain.

Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.