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Sea Level Rise Is Increasing Major Storms Off New Jersey

A new study has found that the flooding risk along the New York and New Jersey coasts increased considerably after industrialization, and major storms that once might have struck every 500 years could soon happen every 25 years or so.

The study by Penn State, Rutgers, Princeton, and Tufts universities, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered that flood heights have increased nearly 4 feet since the year 850, mainly because of a sea level rise.

It was publicized a month before the third anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the coasts of New York and New Jersey.

The study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Adam Sobel, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University and writer of the book "Storm Surge" about Superstorm Sandy, said this study, like many others before it, confirms that sea level rise will be more rapid than it has before.

The study does not clearly state that the changes are due to human activity but implies it "by the timeframes," said Horton.

The study went as far back as the year 850. It discovered that changes in tropical cyclone characteristics have resulted in increases in the extremes of the types of storms that produce the largest storm surges for New York and New Jersey.

The next phase of the research, led by Andra Reed, a doctoral candidate at Penn State, will use the data collected to forecast sea levels and hurricane activity and when major storms like Superstorm Sandy might attack.