This NBC News article brings about some great discussion and ideas on what can be done to protect areas like New York City from storm surge. If you link to the article, be sure to watch the video.
First, I’ll put out there that I don’t completely agree with all the statements made in the article or the video. I’m not completely sold on global climate change, but the fact of the matter is that near or below sea level areas on the coast, especially those with high populations, need better protection. I also don’t agree with the scientist in the video that states there would have been no damage in NYC had these sea walls been in place… hurricane force winds and torrential rains cause plenty of damage all on their own.
The concept of these sea walls amazes me. I’m certainly familiar with the smaller cousins of these structures, breakwaters, such as the one in my college town of Oswego, NY. These sea walls, however, particularly the more high-tech versions such as the one illustrated for use around New York City in the video, appear to be extremely versatile and suitable for long-term use. Just like we protect our infrastructure from acts of terrorism, we need to protect our infrastructure, and our people, from natural disasters. If this project sees the light of day, it may very well be one of the largest hazard mitigation projects ever created.