‘New York’s skyscrapers are sinking the city’

Sea levels in the city have risen by 22cm since 1950, linked to both climate change and sinking buildings

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New York is under threat to rising sea levels because of its skyscrapers.

Researchers have found that its towering buildings are leading to the city sinking by 1-2mm every year, with certain parts of the Big Apple falling at double that rate.

The study published in the journal Earth’s Future, stated that sea levels in New York have risen by 22cm since 1950 – with this attributed to its sinking buildings and climate change.

It also revealed that flooding events and storms are now set to be four times more likely with hurricanes induced by global warming.

The weight of New York’s skyscrapers is estimated to be the same as 140 million elephants, pushing down on the materials and sand below.

Tom Parsons, lead author from the US Geological Survey, said: “The softer the soil, the more compression there is from the buildings. It wasn’t a mistake to build such large buildings in New York but we’ve just got to keep in mind every time you build something there you push down the ground a little bit more.”

He did stress “it’s not something to panic about immediately” but should be kept in mind when thinking about the future.

Commenting on the issue of rising sea levels, Mr Parsons added: “If you get repeated exposure to seawater, you can corrode steel and destabilise buildings, which you clearly don’t want. Flooding also kills people, too, which is probably the greatest concern.”

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