Monday, January 26, 2015

Climate Change:What It Means for Newton and How We Can Help

Posted by Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie
“When I began studying climate change in 2002, the effects here in eastern Massachusetts were much less obvious than they are now.” — Richard Primack

The winter issue of the Newton Conservators Newsletter opens with a cover story about the effects of climate change and sea level rise on the Boston area. Dr. Primack wrote this popular article for his Newton neighbors — outlining the basics of climate change, its local effects, and its potential future impacts. Primack serves as an advisor for the Newton Conservators, an advisory group that has been working on environmental and land protection issues since 1961. Primack's article notes Boston’s luck during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 — we narrowly missed Sandy’s 13-foot storm surge — and considers a future of rising sea levels in a city built on former mudflats and tidal marshes. The sea walls and dams currently protecting Boston from storm surges were designed to withstand 20th century hurricanes, and are not equipped to hold against sea levels expected to rise 1-3 feet by 2100. Primack encourages readers to take action, write to political leaders, and participate in the citizen science projects that help researchers to understand the ecological effects of climate change here in Massachusetts.

This map shows the impact of 7.5 feet of flooding above mean high tide on the Boston Harbor coastline. The areas shown in color are vulnerable to flooding under these circumstances. -The Boston Harbor Association

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