"Let’s find out what's going on so we can plan for the future."
And dozens came to do exactly that as four experts held a forum in Margate to discuss topics crucial to the future of shore communities.
"Today we brought together New Jersey's top experts to talk to us about sea level and climate change and after we learn more about that we're going to find out how we can adapt to that changing environment," said Brenda Taube, event organizer, Margate Public works commissioner, and member of the Margate City Green Team.
The event started with a look into the rapidly rising seas and the factors placing people in harms way.
"The 20th century rise in sea level took place both due to naturally and human causes,” said Dr. Ken Miller, from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University. “It exposed about 38 thousand people to Sandy’s flooding that wouldn't have been exposed if sandy hit in 1900 or 1914."
The forum also took a look at ways individual residents and entire communities can become more resilient in the face of storms.
"We can help communities start to visualize what that may look like, identify what their most vulnerable areas are and put them together with the right partners to help them plan and adapt for what may come for the future," said Lisa Auermuller, Watershed Coordinator for the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Center.
"We studied the past, present, and future sea level changes to make projections of what’s going to happen to sea level this century," said Dr. Miller.
According to Dr. Miller's estimations, the sea level is expected to rise a foot and a half by the year 2050, and further into the future, 5 and 10 year storms will have the same impact as modern day 100 year storms.
"It’s going to be a fundamentally different Jersey shoreline by the end of 21st century unless things happen to cut back on emissions."
Dr. Miller says even without any emissions, the area is sinking and sea level rise is a part of the future. While this may be a scary thought now, by presenting this information in the present day, officials hope we are better prepared in the future.
"In my opinion wisdom is making decisions now that we're going to be happy with in the future,” said Taube. “So after the seminar, all city officials will be able to make wiser decisions for their city planning."
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