While Hurricane Joaquin is not likely to make landfall as it treks by the Atlantic Coast during the next few days, it is expected to cause major coastal flooding and beach erosion. Already, 11 to 15-foot waves are being reported off the coast of New Jersey. Those waves are expected to get higher and stronger through Saturday and Sunday.
People in Atlantic County are keeping a wary eye on developments to determine how severely impacted their homes and businesses will be as the hurricane progresses. No one has forgotten the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy on the area in 2012. Some parts of New Jersey are already flooding due to rainfall not related to the hurricane. Those floods will undoubtedly lead to beach erosion and property destruction.
Atlantic County is experienced in dealing with weather-related impact, and experts say people there are going to become even more experienced in the future. A report issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Environmental Research shows New Jersey has seen an increase in rain between 5-10% since 1970, and sea level rise of 1.5 inches every 10 years. Researchers conducting the study predict temperatures in the state to rise up to 8 degrees by 2100, and rain to continue to increase further by 10-20%. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection predicts that large area storms that now occur every 20 years will increase to every 5 years by 2050, and you can bet those storms will instill severe damage.
Many experts, including those at Princeton University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, say that New Jersey will be an epicenter of climate-change related sea rise in the future. All of this lends credence to the architectural giant Perkins + Will’s design plan to establish Atlantic City as the global research center for climate change and coastal resiliency. There are few places on the planet more ready to accept such a challenge, with unoccupied infrastructure and a front-row seat to the impact of climate change.
Those who live and own businesses in Atlantic County would do well to become involved in the process of selecting a research center site, and work together to make sure the choice is the natural one – Atlantic City.
See the Atlantic County Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan for a better understanding of how a global research center for climate change and sea level rise can help create a stronger regional economy.