New York City is threatened by rising seas and increased extreme weather events. But another factor would contribute to aggravate this phenomenon: the titanic weight of its buildings.
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Without its skyscrapers, New York wouldn’t really be New York. Yes, but here it is: these buildings that overlook the city would help to sink it a little deeper into the earth. And the risk would be particularly high on the island of Manhattan, where we find the most emblematic buildings such as theEmpire State Building where the Chrysler Building. This is the conclusion of a study published in the journal Earth’s Future. To reach this conclusion, American researchers from the University of Rhode Island calculated the mass of all the buildings in New York City (1,084,954). Verdict: 764 million tons!
The researchers then modeled the settlement caused by the pressure of these buildings, depending on the nature of the soils that support them. “We estimate settlement for surface conditions ranging from bedrock to soft soils to account for uncertainties related to local geology and foundation styles”, specify the authors of the work. Presented in the form of satellite images, the data collected as part of this research show a continuous subsidence of New York, of about 1 to 2 mm per year on average.
570 cities threatened with disappearance in the world
“New York is emblematic of expanding coastal cities around the world that are being seen subsiding, which means there is a common global challenge of mitigating growing flood risks”, conclude the researchers. The issue is all the more crucial as the “Big Apple”, which has more than eight million inhabitants, is threatened with disappearance due to rising waters and the amplification of hurricanes and storms, under the effect of climate change. But it is unfortunately not the only city that risks being swallowed up by the waters.
According to the World Economic Forum, several cities around the world could be partially or totally submerged by 2050-2100, such as Jakarta (Indonesia), Dacca (Bangladesh), Venice (Italy) or London (England). IPCC experts come to a similar conclusion in the first part of their sixth report, published in August 2021. According to experts, no less than 570 cities around the world are facing this threat. Among them, Calcutta (India), New Orleans (United States), Alexandria (Egypt) and Bordeaux (France).