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Sea Rise Affecting Real Estate Futures In Boston

Sea Levels in New England Rising Faster Than Global Rate

According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration detailing a 4 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature across all New England states. New England and Canadian areas of North America are getting hotter, faster than the rest of the world with the exception of Europe (which is expecting a 3 meter rise by 2100), In recent decades, the warming in the Arctic circle and land masses nearest it has been much faster than in the rest of the world, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. Numerous studies report that the Arctic is warming twice, or even three times as fast as the globe on average.

The New England coast could see another 1-3 feet of sea level rise between now and 2060, the report states and many climatologists believe this is very optimistic and we are more likely to see this number double as no significant drop in the rate of global warming has occurred anywhere on the planet. Massachusetts has warmed by approximately 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th century. The city of Boston finished out 2021 as its hottest year on record, and the state's number of hot days has been considerably above the long-term average since 2010.Drought conditions in parts of Massachusetts and other Northeast states are likely to be repeated in future years as climate change hastens extreme weather cycles, in which dry periods become drier and wet periods wetter, according to experts.

According to the Providence Journal “"Projections indicate that in the winter months more precipitation (12%–30%) will fall as rain rather than snow, and there will be earlier lake ice-out dates and a reduction in winter snowpack," even as our coastlines erode "As winters become warmer, the number of snow events is expected to decline from an average of five each month of winter to one to three. The number of extreme precipitation events is also projected to more than double by the end of this century," resulting in more coastal and inland flooding.” And this means even more drastic sea level rise.

In a worst-case scenario, the government reported sea levels in the Northeast could rise as much as 21 inches by 2050. By comparison, over the past century, sea levels in the region have risen by nearly one foot! “We already know that New England has seen the greatest increase in heavy downpours, so we expect that climate change is driving an intensification of water cycles—both more intense floods and intense droughts,” said Aaron Bernstein, interim director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE), in an August 18, 2022 CNN article.

The report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the first time the US government has made specific predictions about rising sea levels by 2050. Based on tide gauges, satellite observations, and computer models, it projects that, on average, the coastal waters of the United States will rise between 10 and 12 inches by 2050.Coastal erosion has long shaped Cape Cod and much of the state of Massachusetts coast. But as global warming fuels more powerful storms — bringing heavier precipitation, higher tides, and more intense winds and waves — erosion is likely to accelerate, claiming more of the coast and taking any structures with it into the sea. Along Massachusetts’ 1,500 miles of shoreline, approx. 75 acres are swallowed by the sea each year and this number is growing quickly. by 2050, sea levels in Boston will be 16 inches higher than they were at the start of the century. Preparing for this will cost billions, new Chief Planner Arthur Jemison said.

Currently the most valuable properties in Boston are in areas of higher elevation where the population is mostly BIPOC homeowners even though you wouldn’t be able to tell by the type of home owner assessments the banks give these properties its a well known secret these properties are sought after because environmental impacts are increasing the value of these locations exponentially. Boston is raising streets, building berms and even requiring that new high-rise condominium developments on its harbor acquire “aqua fences” — portable metal barriers that can be dragged to the street and anchored to the pavement to deflect incoming waves. In a report by the Washington Post it was revealed that Boston was ranked the world’s eighth most vulnerable to floods among 136 coastal cities by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The sea that surrounds Boston crept up ten inches in the 20th century and is advancing ever faster toward the heart of the city.

And as climate change accelerates, the pace of sea-level rise in Boston is expected to triple, adding eight to ten inches over 2000 levels by 2030. Half the city of Boston is built on low-lying landfill. Among the vulnerable spots are commercial piers, Logan International Airport, the South End, the New England Aquarium and pricey apartment buildings in the newly redeveloped Seaport area. Rising tides are expected to flood several communities along the South Coast within the next 20 years, impacting the fishing industry and further eroding iconic — and ecologically rich — salt marshes, Daily high tides are projected to rise 3 feet by 2050 and almost 5 feet by 2070.The towns of Wareham, Bourne, Marion, and Mattapoisett are particularly vulnerable, making insurance costs for homeowners soar. More than 13,000 structures around Buzzards Bay could be flooded in a major storm, with more than half of them in Wareham and Bourne alone. Due to Wareham’s location and low-lying infrastructure, a major storm could inundate more than a quarter of all buildings in town as soon as 2030. A storm like the ones that have plagued the Midwest U.S. in the past year would ruin industry in these towns for decades! People from all over the city looking for best investments in Real Estate flocking to Dorchester, Boston's largest neighborhood, as well as East Boston, Chelsea, Roxbury, Mattapan, Milton, Canton, and Hyde Park. Some neighborhoods such as Elm Hill in Roxbury have seen prices rise from $300,000 dollars to $5 million!


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