A Sinking State: Coastal State Discussion Feb.14

Join us on Wednesday, February 14 for a discussion on the impacts land subsidence has on Rhode Island as projected sea levels continue to climb.

©John Supancic

Although Rhode Island is losing only one millimeter of ground annually, it plays a meaningful role in present-day flooding along a coastal state that is mostly at sea level or 10 to 30 feet above.

“This may seem minimal compared to projected sea levels, but is still a significant contributor to sea level rise at present,” said Simon Engelhart, a URI researcher reconstructing past sea level rise to gain a better understanding of how the land responds to better inform resiliency measures by coastal managers.

“[Land subsidence] is going to be important in the short-term even though it’s small because it’s still a component of what we’re seeing,” he says, referring to “nuisance flooding.” These events, which are expected to increase with sea level rise, can cause road closures, overwhelm storm drains, and damage surrounding infrastructure. “The Newport tide gauge [measures] about 2.7 millimeters per year of relative sea level rise since it was started in 1930. A little more than a third of that is coming from land subsidence.”

Engelhart will discuss these findings and what it means for coastal communities seeking resiliency as part of the annual Coastal State Discussion Series.

When:  Wednesday, February 14, 2018​
Time:    4:30–6:00 p.m.
Where: Coastal Institute Auditorium | URI Narragansett Bay Campus

Light refreshments will be served. RSVP requested.

This series is sponsored by Rhode Island Sea Grant with support from the Coastal Institute, the Graduate School of Oceanography, and the College of the Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. For more information please visit https://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/special-programs/coastal-state-discussion-series/