Summary of The Cruellest Seas

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Floods are shaping up to be the most dangerous natural disasters humanity faces in the future. Rising oceans combined with atmospheric events such as El Nino and sinking land masses are making “extreme sea level events” more common, and much more destructive. As correspondent Alexandra Witze writes in Nature, some regions may soon experience what is now termed a “100-year-flood” every other year. getAbstract recommends this somber call-to-action to anyone who lives in a low-lying area or coastal region, especially city planners and policymakers.

About the Author

Alexandra Witze is a correspondent for Nature based in Boulder, Colorado.



Extreme sea levels occur when storm surges, waves and high tides combine.

Most scientists agree that rising ocean levels due to melting glaciers and warming waters will result in more deadly, destructive floods around the world in the future, but precise predictions of these phenomena remain elusive. Oceanographers refer to disasters such as 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, 2017’s Hurricane Irma, 2012’s Hurricane Sandy and 2018’s Boston bomb cyclone as “extreme sea level events.” Storm surges, strong waves and high tides exacerbate the flooding potential of these super storms. 

Researchers assess flood risk by using historical data and sophisticated models.

The Global Extreme Sea Level Analysis (GESLA), a highly-respected scientific database, confirms ...

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