Group of climatologists on 100-foot yacht in New York harbor plans $ 40 billion to build sea gates

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A group that is proposing a $ 40 billion sea gate system to protect New York and New Jersey from deadly storm surges has scoured the shores ravaged by Hurricane Sandy aboard a 100-foot-long luxury yacht .

Engineers, scientists and city planners from the New York New Jersey Storm Surge Working Group gathered on Sandy’s ninth birthday to discuss how best to protect the area from flooding like the one caused by the deadly storm in 2012.

The hurricane killed 60 people in New York and New Jersey, flooding homes and businesses and alone causing damage in New York City estimated at $ 19 billion, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

As a result, the task force proposed three breakwaters at East River, Jones Inlet and East Rockway, plus a larger one in the New York Outer Harbor connecting New York and New Jersey.

Members of the group discussed the $ 40 billion plans aboard the Manhattan II, an air-conditioned mahogany-finished ship with paneled windows that rents up to $ 2,400 an hour, according to Classic Harbor Line.

Scientists, engineers, architects and city planners met aboard the Manhattan II yacht to discuss ways to protect the New York and New Jersey area from storm surges last week

The New York New Jersey Storm Surge Working Group proposed four sea barriers, the largest stretching from Sandy Hook, NJ to Breezy Point, NY, valued at $ 36.4 billion.

The New York New Jersey Storm Surge Working Group proposed four sea barriers, the largest stretching from Sandy Hook, NJ to Breezy Point, NY, valued at $ 36.4 billion.

The group traveled along Manhattan's lower tip, Bloomberg report says

The group traveled along Manhattan’s lower tip, Bloomberg report says

The barriers could prevent flooding from storms like Hurricane Sandy, which caused about $ 19 billion in damage in New York City alone.  Above, the Plaza Shops on October 30, 2012

The barriers could prevent flooding from storms like Hurricane Sandy, which caused about $ 19 billion in damage in New York City alone. Above, the Plaza Shops on October 30, 2012

“Don’t underestimate the destruction, dislocation and human misery that climate change and rising seas will bring in the decades to come,” said Stony Brook professor of oceanography and task force chair Malcolm Bowman , according to Bloomberg.

A person aboard the yacht pointed out that a low tide mark he saw on his first move to New York is now completely covered, even when the water is at its lowest.

The task force says building their four proposed barriers would cost around $ 30 billion to $ 40 billion.

Flooding remains a major problem for New York City.

Over the summer, Tropical Storm Elsa left residents through flooded subway stations, with photos and videos of water-filled stations going viral.

A shocking video circulating on social media showed a woman diving into squalid, trash-filled water to catch a train as it arrived at the station, holding grocery bags over her head to keep them dry.

As flash floods hit New York City, a video showed a woman diving into squalid, trash-filled water to catch a train as it arrived at the station

In the Washington Heights neighborhood, 157th Street Station 1 was seen submerged in deep water

Video from Tropical Storm Elsa in July showed a woman diving into squalid water and filled with trash to catch a train as it arrived at the station

Storm surge or flood barriers work by closing when extreme water levels are forecast, preventing water from entering the coast.  Above, an illustration of USACE

Storm surge or flood barriers work by closing when extreme water levels are forecast, preventing water from entering the coast. Above, an illustration of USACE

The NY / NJ task force met last week aboard the mahogany-paneled Manhattan II yacht

The NY / NJ task force met last week aboard the mahogany-paneled Manhattan II yacht

The Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to approve the project, said in a 2019 report that the largest barrier – stretching from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to Breezy Point, New York – would cost around $ 36.4 billion and take 25 years to build.

How do surge barriers work?

Storm barriers – also called flood barriers – are rigid structures that prevent coastal flooding.

These are fixed barriers or movable doors that can be closed when an extreme water level is expected.

They’re typically offered in tight areas, like the parts of New York Harbor that the NY / NJ task force is trying to protect.

These are expensive projects, and there are no known examples in the developing world.

Movable storm surge barriers and closing dams provide a high degree of protection and allow the economy and culture of a region to continue unabated, opening and closing river traffic in the event of need.

Source: Climate Technology Center and Network

The Corps stressed that it would need to study the cost and time it would take to construct the barriers as well as the environmental hazards and navigation issues.

“Any surge barrier across a waterway will have a door large enough to allow vessels to pass. A navigation traffic analysis should be performed if a surge barrier is recommended, ”the Corps wrote.

Recent storms in New York have caused flooding that inundated apartments and left cars stranded on flooded roads.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency last month as the city braced for fall storms.

Sea barriers have been erected around the world and many of them still function.

In the Netherlands, the 688-foot-long Maeslant barrier was built from 1991 to 1997.

It cost $ 727,832,700 to build in 2021 US dollars. It is made up of two steel barriers that open and close to keep water out during storms.

The Thames Barrier in the UK is another example, spanning 1,700 feet and made up of 10 steel gates as tall as a five-story building that can be raised across the Thames, according to the British government.

“Regional sea gates built as part of a layered defense system will provide the best protection against coastal storm surges and rain-induced inland flooding,” said Sandeep Mehrotra, an environmental scientist who was aboard the Manhattan II last week.

The Thames Barrier in the UK spans 1,700 feet of 10 steel gates that can be lifted into position

The Thames Barrier in the UK spans 1,700 feet of 10 steel gates that can be lifted into position

In New Orleans, the IHNC) -Lake One Eye Surge Barrier, proposed after Hurricane Katrina, cost $ 1.1 billion to build and was completed in 2013 on an accelerated construction schedule.

In New Orleans, the IHNC) -Lake One Eye Surge Barrier, proposed after Hurricane Katrina, cost $ 1.1 billion to build and was completed in 2013 on an accelerated construction schedule.

Examples can also be found near you.

The largest storm barrier in the United States is in New Orleans, where the Army Corps of Engineers accelerated a project after Hurricane Katrina.

The storm hit the city in 2005 and caused more than $ 100 billion in property damage and 1,800 deaths.

Dubbed the IHNC Lake One-Eyed Surge Barrier, the 1.8-mile-long barrier cost $ 1.1 billion and was completed in 2013, according to Corps.

Flooding continues to hit New York City, like the one seen above in Brooklyn on October 26

Flooding continues to hit New York City, like the one seen above in Brooklyn on October 26

After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Battery Park underpass was completely flooded

After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Battery Park underpass was completely flooded

The effectiveness of flood barriers depends on the planet’s ability to fight against global warming.

Higher temperatures melt the ice, which causes the sea level to rise. Water also expands as it warms, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Most international agreements aim to keep warming 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a proposal billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, attending the COP26 climate change conference in Scotland this week, said would be ” hard”.


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