Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The New Coastline: Floods Near the Harbor, Fourth Graders Take the High Ground

Brooklyn's new coastline, near Jamaica Bay. From the New York Times
Using NASA data and flood maps, an artist is tracing the high water line of future floods along the coast of Brooklyn.

The line traces a contour line about 10 feet above sea level. Currently, New York experiences floods along this line at a frequency of once every 100 years: a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. In 2020, the odds of flooding are expected to have doubled to 2.3%, and by 2080, floods could be reaching this line once every four years.

Here in Portland, we traced a portion of our own high water line in this spring's New Coast Parade. Portions of our parade route on Commercial Street, which is also about 10 feet above typical high tides, actually did flood a week after the parade during the Patriot's Day Storm.

If you think that's bad news, you can at least count your blessings that you're not among the increasingly desperate ranks of global warming skeptics, who brought their ebbing tide of climate change "debate" down to childish levels over the weekend.

Following the publication of a global warming opinion piece by kids at the East End Community School, the nation's right-wing conspiracy theorists followed a link from the Drudge Report to focus their righteous rage on Portland's fourth graders.

Student Jacob Austin (aged 9) impetuously responded to the criticism by replying, "I thought they should do a little research, and then they can tell me we did a bad job."

Bah! You can keep your precious research, Jacob! But who really occupies the moral and intellectual high ground - environmentally-concerned fourth graders, or the crackpot adults who spend their weekends hurling insults against them?

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