Hexbyte Glen Cove Vulnerable to climate change, New York constructs seawall

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Construction workers on a flood defense project on the east side of Manhattan, New York.

After major storms highlighted New York’s weaknesses in the face of climate change, the city is erecting a $1.45-billion system of walls and floodgates to protect it from rising sea levels.

Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was the trigger for establishing the East Coast Resiliency Project (ESCR), running 2.5 miles (four kilometers) along the shoreline of Lower Manhattan. Hurricane Ida, which ravaged parts of the this year, added further urgency.

During Sandy, which killed 44 city residents while impacting 110,000 more and leaving $19 billion in damages, rose upwards of eight feet, according to Tom Foley, New York’s acting Design and Construction Commissioner.

The completed wall will reach as high as 16.5 feet, Foley said. The project will also include gates to prevent water from seeping into Manhattan, home of the densest population in the United States.

The wall between 23rd and 20th streets is already constructed, an area where the East River and residential housing are at their most narrow.

Further down, where terrain allows, the project will include a hilly park that will serve as a protective wall, as well as a dock, an esplanade, bike lanes, benches and garden areas.

The city will also plant some 1,800 trees—nearly double the number that the project’s construction has destroyed, along with an additional 1,000 in the neighborhood, said Sara Nielsen of the New York City Parks Department. Some 500 new trees have already been planted.

New York’s flood wall—Details of the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project between East 25th Street and Montgomery Street in Manhattan.

And a new underground drainage system will improve the sewage network’s evacuation capacity, while the construction of a power substation should help prevent a days-long power loss that happened during Sandy.

That major 2012 superstorm proved one of the worst to hit the United States this century, along with 2005’s Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, and Harvey, which lashed Houston in 2017.

‘Adaptable’

But the project is far from enough: New York’s some 520 miles of coastline faces forecasts of more than two feet rise in sea levels by 2050 and nearly six feet by the end of the century.

According to Jainey Bavishi, who directs the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resilience, the city is investing in a “multi-layered strategy.”

“We are building coastal protections where possible to keep the water out—but we also recognize that we’re not going to be able to keep the water out in all places,” Bavishi told AFP.

Lower Manhattan skyline and New York city.

She explained that the protections now under construction are “built to be adaptable.”

“So if the projections for rise and storm surge get worse than what we believe they are now, we can actually add elevation to the wall to add further protection.”

Many buildings in Manhattan along with crucial infrastructure are also being reinforced, Bavishi explained, with construction limited in high-risk areas, and collaboration with residents and small businesses to minimize the impact of extreme weather events.

Some citizens are unhappy with the project and local associations have lodged appeals against it. Barring delays from those hurdles, the project is meant to be finished by 2026.

The hope is that Lower Manhattan will be able to breathe easier.

“I think it’s a good idea but things move slowly, so I don’t know how… effective it’s going to be,” said one resident named Terry.

Planning for the future—flood defense on the New York shoreline.

‘Ambitious’

The ESCR is just one component of a larger announced in 2013, when the city revealed a nearly $20 billion plan aimed at “.”

But that price tag is just a “down payment,” Bavishi says. “Resiliency is a process, not an outcome.”

The US Congress recently approved a massive social spending plan of $1.2 trillion, which will allocate roughly $550 billion to climate and clean energy tax incentives.

“I do believe that our entire climate resiliency strategy is one of the most ambitious in the United States and potentially in the world,” Bavishi said.



© 2021 AFP

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Vulnerable to climate change, New York constructs seawall (2021, December 14)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Probing deep space with Interstellar thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Probing deep space with Interstellar

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Scientists hope the proposed Interstellar Probe will teach us more about our home in the galaxy as well as how other stars in the galaxy interact with their interstellar neighbourhoods. Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

When the four-decades-old Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft entered interstellar space in 2012 and 2018, respectively, scientists celebrated. These plucky spacecraft had already traveled 120 times the distance from the Earth to the sun to reach the boundary of the heliosphere, the bubble encompassing our solar system that’s affected by the solar wind. The Voyagers discovered the edge of the bubble but left scientists with many questions about how our Sun interacts with the local interstellar medium. The twin Voyagers’ instruments provide limited data, leaving critical gaps in our understanding of this region.

NASA and its partners are now planning for the next spacecraft, currently called the Interstellar Probe, to travel much deeper into interstellar space, 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the sun, with the hope of learning more about how our home heliosphere formed and how it evolves.

“The Interstellar Probe will go to the unknown local interstellar space, where humanity has never reached before,” says Elena Provornikova, the Interstellar Probe heliophysics lead from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL) in Maryland. “For the first time, we will take a picture of our vast heliosphere from the outside to see what our solar system home looks like.”

Provornikova and her colleagues will discuss the heliophysics science opportunities for the at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2021.

The APL-led team, which involves some 500 scientists, engineers, and enthusiasts—both formal and informal—from around the world, has been studying what types of investigations the mission should plan for. “There are truly outstanding science opportunities that span heliophysics, , and astrophysics,” Provornikova says.

Scientists plan for the Interstellar Probe to reach 1,000 AU — 1 AU is the distance from the sun to Earth — into the interstellar medium. That’s about 10 times as far as the Voyager spacecraft have gone. Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

Some mysteries the team hopes to solve with the mission include: how the sun’s plasma interacts with interstellar gas to create our heliosphere; what lies beyond our heliosphere; and what our heliosphere even looks like. The mission plans to take “images” of our heliosphere using energetic neutral atoms, and perhaps even “observe extragalactic background light from the early times of our galaxy formation—something that can’t be seen from Earth,” Provornikova says. Scientists also hope to learn more about how our sun interacts with the local galaxy, which might then offer clues as to how other stars in the galaxy interact with their interstellar neighborhoods, she says.

The heliosphere is also important because it shields our solar system from high-energy galactic cosmic rays. The sun is traveling around in our galaxy, going through different regions in interstellar space, Provornikova says. The sun is currently in what is called the Local Interstellar Cloud, but recent research suggests the sun may be moving toward the edge of the cloud, after which it would enter the next region of —which we know nothing about. Such a change may make our heliosphere grow bigger or smaller or change the amount of galactic cosmic rays that get in and contribute to the background radiation level at Earth, she says.

This is the final year of a four-year “pragmatic concept study,” in which the team has been investigating what science could be accomplished with this mission. At the end of the year, the team will deliver a report to NASA that outlines potential science, example instrument payloads, and example spacecraft and trajectory designs for the mission. “Our approach is to lay out the menu of what can be done in such a mission,” Provornikova says.

The mission could launch in the early 2030s and would take about 15 years to reach the boundary—a pace that’s quick compared to the Voyagers, which took 35 years to get there. The current mission design is planned to last 50 years or more.

Provornikova will present the latest on the Interstellar Probe heliophysics plan on Monday, 26 April at 14:00 CEST.



More information:
Elena Provornikova et al, Unique heliophysics science opportunities along the Interstellar Probe journey up to 1000 AU from the Sun, (2021). DOI: 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10504

Citation:
Probing deep space with Interstellar (2021, April 26)
retrieved 27 April 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-probing-deep-space-interstellar.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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