Nov 17, 2016

Supermoon Floods Warn of Crisis Facing Trump, U.S.

Brunswick, GA
USA
by
John Upton
,
Climate Central
High tide flooding Sunday at the intersection of Prince and Lanier streets in Brunswick, Ga. Photo: JB Workman
High tide flooding Sunday at the intersection of Prince and Lanier streets in Brunswick, Ga. Photo: JB Workman

President-elect Donald Trump is preparing to lead America during a perilous period for the 130 million residents of its coastal counties. High tides linked to the full moon since the weekend caused minor flooding from Florida to New England, underscoring the need for improved coastal infrastructure at a time of faster rising seas.

“We do see some pretty high tides, even without the full moon,” said JB Workman, a golf course employee who moved into an increasingly flood-prone neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga., several years ago. “This past weekend the flooding was like I've never seen during my time here — way worse, and dangerous.”

Every year nationwide, sea level rise caused by global warming is directly responsible for hundreds of high tide floods like those in Workman’s neighborhood. Coastal planners are grappling with the worsening problem, which is most pronounced along the East and Gulf coasts, where sea level rise has been fastest and where land is sinking and eroding away.

A large full moon called a “supermoon” pulled tides higher from Sunday until Wednesday, triggering the latest episode of sweeping coastal flooding. Such floods are most common in the spring and the fall. As high tides in the spring and fall have been causing worsening floods, people have taken to calling them “king tides.”

Out of 15 floods caused by high tides at locations monitored with tide gauges, a Climate Central analysis of federal data found 12 were driven by the effects of greenhouse gas pollution on sea levels.