New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 12, 2019) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick experts are available to comment on “New Jersey’s Rising Seas and Changing Coastal Storms: A Report of the 2019 Science and Technical Advisory Panel.” The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection commissioned the report and released it today.

The report, prepared by Rutgers experts with input from other scientists, updates a 2016 Rutgers report on future sea-level and storm changes affecting New Jersey, and reflects the most recent climate science. Key updates in the 2019 report include: the addition of historical sea-level rise information for New Jersey; consideration of the latest information related to ice sheet changes and their effect on sea-level rise; and assessment of increasing tidal flooding under sea-level rise. The original 2016 report was independently prepared by Rutgers University on behalf of the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance.

Here are some of the report’s findings, according to a Rutgers summary.

- The sea level rose 17.6 inches (1.5 feet) along the New Jersey coast from 1911 to 2019, compared with a 7.6-inch (0.6 feet) increase in the global average sea-level.

- New Jersey coastal areas are likely to experience sea-level rise of 0.5 to 1.1 feet between 2000 and 2030, and 0.9 to 2.1 feet between 2000 and 2050.

- Under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario this century, New Jersey coastal areas are likely to see sea-level rise of 1.5 to 3.5 feet between 2000 and 2070, and 2.3 to 6.3 feet between 2000 and 2100.

- New Jersey residents have experienced more days with high tide floods in the absence of a storm in recent years. High tide flooding (i.e. “sunny day flooding”) can have detrimental impacts on infrastructure and communities in the absence of a major storm. Between 2007 and 2016, Atlantic City averaged eight high-tide flood events per year. The average was less than one per year in the 1950s. Based on the likely range of sea-level rise projections, Atlantic City will experience 17 to 75 days of expected high-tide flooding in 2030, and 45 to 255 days in 2050.

Rutgers recently used the 2019 science to update NJFloodMapper, a web-based interactive data and mapping tool. NJFloodMapper is designed to help communities and citizens plan for and become more resilient to climate change-related impacts, including sea-level rise and flooding. More updates are planned, including adding automated “municipal snapshots” that will provide users with easier access to information about the people, places and assets at risk from coastal flood hazards.

Rutgers-New Brunswick posted a Saving New Jersey from the Rising Tide package earlier this year.

For an interview with the following Rutgers experts, please contact Todd Bates at todd.bates@rutgers.edu

Lead author Robert E. Kopp, director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Co-author Anthony J. Broccoli, a professor who chairs the Department of Environmental Sciences and co-directs the Rutgers Climate Institute.

Co-author Clinton J. Andrews, associate dean for research and professor of urban planning in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Co-author Jeanne Herb, executive director of the Environmental Analysis and Communications Group at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and co-facilitator of the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance.

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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at neal.buccino@echo.rutgers.edu

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