Data from this new study helps to explain long-held theories that sea levels are rising faster around Washington, DC and its suburbs than in any other region along the East Coast.
Scientists, led by a team from the University of Vermont, drilled 70 bores over 100 feet deep in the Chesapeake Bay and determined that the culprit is an ancient ice sheet that once covered most of North America. Since it began retreating, the land has been settling back into place. Washington, DC is in an area that was just outside the sheet, and it "bulged" up.
Sounds pretty harmless, right? Not so, warn scientists, when it's coupled with rising sea levels.
"Right now is the time to start making preparations," DeJong said. "Six extra inches of water really matters in this part of the world," he stressed.
"It's ironic that the nation's capital-the place least responsive to the dangers of climate change-is sitting in one of the worst spots it could be in terms of this land subsidence," said Paul Bierman, the study's senior author. "Will the Congress just sit there with their feet getting ever wetter? What's next, forebulge denial?"