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Study: New York City is sinking due to heavy buildings, sea levels

The weight of New York City's buildings is about 1.68 trillion pounds.
Study: New York City is sinking due to heavy buildings, sea levels
Posted at 11:25 AM, May 20, 2023

New York City is sinking due to its heavy buildings and rising sea levels, new research has found.

The city is dipping about 1 to 2 mm per year, said researchers in a study published in the Earth's Future's journal.

NYC, with a population of roughly 8.4 million people, has 1,084,954 buildings. The mass of all those buildings is an estimated 1.68 trillion pounds, the study said.

While the structures continue to weigh down the city, increasing sea levels are exacerbating the issue.

By 2050, sea levels are projected to grow anywhere from 7.9 inches to 23.6 inches globally.

NYC in particular is also in danger of harsher flooding.

"The threat of sea level rise is three to four times higher than the global average along the Atlantic coast of North America," researchers said.

All the while, greenhouse gas is breaking down the wind shear barrier along the East Coast, exposing NYC to more frequent high-intensity hurricane events in the coming decades. 

Even worse is that some city structures aren't built to par; researchers found "90% of the 67,400 structures in the expanded post-Hurricane-Sandy flood risk areas have not been built to floodplain standards."

Subsidence, which describes the gradual caving in or sinking of land, was evident in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens as well as on Long Island, according to the research.

SEE MORE: The US Southeast and Gulf Coasts see record sea level rise


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