New York City is sinking, study says: Huge buildings, rising seas contribute to subsidence

Areas that are of concern to researchers include lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, according to the study.

The pressure from New York City’s massive buildings and skyscrapers is making the city more vulnerable to sink lower into the ocean, according to new research.  

Three University of Rhode Island oceanologists and a researcher from the U.S. Geological Survey found that New York City, home to more than 8 million people, is sinking at a rate of 1 to 2 millimeters a year while sea level rises.

With more than 1 million buildings amassing nearly 1.7 trillion pounds, some areas in the metropolis were found to be subsiding much faster when scientists modeled the subsidence caused by the pressure that these structures exert on the Earth.

Parts of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island all showed signs of subsidence, the study said.

“As coastal cities grow globally, the combination of construction densification and sea level rise imply increasing inundation hazard,” a summary of the research said. “The point of the paper is to raise awareness that every additional high-rise building constructed at coastal, river, or lakefront settings could contribute to future flood risk, and that mitigation strategies may need to be included.”

Sea level rise and increasing storm intensity also contribute to the gradual sinking of land.

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