Rising seas threaten to drown US airports

NEW YORK: Some of the world’s busiest airports, including in US cities such as New Orleans, Palm Springs in California and Key West, could be underwater by the end of the century if unchecked global warming pushes up sea levels, researchers said.
An analysis by the Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) found that with 1 metre of sea-level rise, an estimated 80 airports globally would be swamped by 2100.
“If you step outside and throw a dart blindfolded, almost anything will be impacted by climate change, including airports,” said Noah Maghsadi, one of the authors.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that sea levels could rise by about 60-110 cm if emissions continue to increase strongly.
But even if the Paris Agreement goal to limit the planet’s temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times is met, the researchers estimated that 44 airports in low-lying areas could be flooded by likely sea-level rise of about half a metre.
“Based on this analysis, even if we do curtail climate change, adaptation still needs to happen,” said Maghsadi.
Methods used to ward off flooding include building dikes, sea walls and underground spaces, said the analysis, which drew on data from research group Climate Central for sea levels and OpenFlights, an airline and route data company.
Vulnerable airports also include some of the busiest in Asia and Europe, WRI said, such as Yancheng Nanyang International Airport in China’s Jiangsu Province and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
As the adverse impacts of climate change become clearer, airport managers in coastal regions have begun investing in measures including higher runways, sea walls and better drainage systems to protect immovable assets.
Singapore’s Changi Airport for instance has resurfaced its runways to improve drainage and is building a new higher terminal at 5.5 metres above sea level to keep it safe from rising seas. — Reuters

Oman Observer

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