At Point Pleasant Coast Guard Station, the rising ocean laps just below the quayside where cars are parked. At Avalon Dunes, it’s shown advancing along a bayside street lined with expensive homes. And at Double Creek Bridge south of Toms River, the waters of the Atlantic creep toward a beachfront house that’s already just yards from the regular high-tide line.
All three scenarios are depicted in photographs simulating the effects of a foot rise in sea-level on the Jersey Shore. These simulations -- and others -- can be seen thanks to a new online mapping tool published by Rutgers University to help local officials plan for coastal flooding in coming decades.
Some four months after Hurricane Sandy dramatically raised public concern about the power of the ocean, Rutgers officials are alerting government officials, businesses, and individuals to the likely effects of rising seas on their roads, bridges, beaches, docks, homes, and communities.
As ocean volume increase in response to rising global temperatures and melting polar ice caps, the average high-tide level around New Jersey’s coast is likely to be one foot higher than at present by 2050, according to a consensus of national and regional forecasts compiled by Rutgers.
That’s about twice as high as the global average because the mid-Atlantic coast is sinking at the same time that waters are rising, creating an especially urgent problem for low-lying areas of coastal Jersey and Delaware -- where state officials have forecast up to 11 percent of the land mass could be inundated by three feet of water by 2100.
In an attempt to illustrate the practical effects of a phenomenon that may seem like a long-term abstraction, the mapping tool shows users how some locations would be affected at high tide by specific levels of sea-level rise.
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