Great article on the Greenland Ice Sheet

If the Greenland ice sheet melts, what happens to New York City? This reporter went to find out.  Janet Babin. PRI

“A total melting of the Greenland ice sheet would raise sea levels by roughly 25 feet. Schaefer says he’s not scared that will happen again anytime soon. Other researchers aren’t sure it will happen at all. But Schaefer says even half a foot of sea level rise from Greenland is possible by the end of the century. That, he says, would be a “disaster for society.”

But it would still be a creeping disaster, one too slow to register in most people’s daily lives — except when the coast gets hit by big storms.

After I came back from Greenland, I moved out of Brooklyn to Wall Street. Dozens of buildings in this part of town flooded. Some lost power and elevator service. And subways stations in this area of downtown were closed — in some cases, for months. The trains are up and running, but not much has changed.

A few towers have moved their electrical systems to higher floors. The city has rebuilt some parks to hold more water during storms.

And there’s talk of bigger changes. The US Army Corps of Engineers recently began holding public meetings on whether to build berms, seawalls and storm surge barriers along New York’s shoreline.  But those plans would take decades and billions of dollars to implement.

I went to Greenland to try to get a better fix on how the future of the ice sheet could affect my city. But what I learned is that while details will continue to evolve, we know enough already that we should be doing a lot more to protect coastal cities from climate change and sea level rise.

If I thought the trip would allay my fears, I was wrong. Seeing the ice up close made me realize the vastness of the world’s loss.

Like my neighbors, I’m nervous about the next storm — how the flooding could keep getting worse while our government focuses on the smaller picture. I contemplate where I could move, but east coast options are limited. In New York City, just about every neighborhood could be impacted.”

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