As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, meteorologists and scientists talk about its nearly unprecedented strength and power.
Andrea Dutton thinks she knows why.
The 1991 Staples High School grad is an assistant professor of geology at the University of Florida. She also co-leads an international working group investigating the geological record of changes in sea levels and ice sheet mass, to better predict future sea level rise.
Specifically, Dutton reconstructs sea level over thousands of years, establishing the behavior of sea level and ice sheets during previous warm periods.
According to Rolling Stone, Dutton has shown the mid-Atlantic to be “a particular hotspot for sea-level rise.” Between 2011 and 2015, that coast saw increases in sea levels 6 times faster than the global average. The higher the ocean level, the bigger the storm surge.
However, the story continues, the North Carolina legislature has outlawed considering sea-level rise as part of the state’s coastal management strategy.
Dutton says, “No need to mince words here. The outrageous coastal development practices need to change. Unfortunately, this storm might just be the one to squeeze the insurance market enough to make that happen. Especially on the heels of Irma, Maria and Harvey, which have already stretched the available resources.”
(For the full Rolling Stone article, click here.)