So you read up on this past week's King Tide and know that it was caused by astronomical movements — but learn how climate scientists are using this event to prepare for rising seas right here in Boston.
This past week, local coastal communities were reminded of just how close the Boston Harbor and ocean can get due to normal tide cycles. Tourists and locals alike flocked to the coasts to check out the predictable highest tides of the year -- known as “King Tide” or “wicked high tides” -- as the waves spilled over walls and barriers and into walking paths, sidewalks, and even roadways. Although these tides were expected, local scientists (many on our Climate Ready Boston project team) collected photos and looked at water pathways during this time to get a glimpse into the future.
Photo 1: Depiction of historical shoreline at Faneuil Hall; Picture 2: restaurant and plaza flooded on King Tide day 3; Photo 3: Boston Water and Sewer stormdrain cover completely submerged in water
Rising seas and a changing coast are no longer a question -- these changes will certainly happen within our lifetimes. It’s not a matter of if, but when, and by how much. The City of Boston is working to answer that question, and beginning to prepare.
The Climate Ready Boston project team recently updated projections for climate change impacts on Boston, including rising seas and stormwater infrastructure challenges. Stay tuned for initial recommendations of steps the City and the Greater Boston community at large can take in order to address this problem head on.
The coincidence of this years’ highest tides with a warm spell in autumn gave us a chance to see the opportunities, and not just costs, that climate change will bring. Many people enjoyed splashing through the lukewarm harbor water because of the unseasonably nice day. Greenovate and Mayor Walsh will continue to be a part of helping to see these changes through the lens of innovation, and turn this challenge into an opportunity.