Hurricane Sandy Serves as 'Wake-Up Call' to the Dangers of Rising Sea Levels

The World

The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy beats against a beachside building in Shinnecock Hills, New York, October 29, 2012. Hurricane Sandy, the monster storm bearing down on the East Coast, strengthened on Monday after hundreds of thousands moved to higher ground, public transport shut down and the stock market suffered its first weather-related closure in 27 years. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER)


Engineers in Japan and Bangladesh have devised unique solutions to cope with rising sea levels, says Klaus Jacob, a geo-physicist and senior research scientist at Columbia University. Jacob lauds those engineered solutions, but says they have their limits. And he calls Hurricane Sandy an important wake-up call, and says it's high time for cities around the world, including New York to take the threat of coastal flooding more seriously. "We had one wake-up call last year under the name of Irene. We got away with less than we will most likely incur from Sandy," says Jacob. "The question is how many wake-up calls do we need to get out of our snoozing, sleeping, dreaming morning attitude? We have to get into action. We have to set priorities and spend money. For every one dollar invested in protection you get a return of four dollars of not incurred losses."