My latest feature for Nature explores the phenomenon of extreme sea levels — what happens when storm surge, high tide and waves combine to push water into coastal neighborhoods. Rising global sea levels, combined with local effects such as land subsidence, mean that high-water marks are being reached more and more often. As this story went to press, Boston was getting swamped with its second major nor’easter of the year — only weeks after the infamous ‘bomb cyclone’ sent icy waters surging into its streets. In other words, the photo that illustrates the start of the piece (credit: Scott Eisen/Getty) could have been taken in March rather than January.
For more on the story of rising sea levels, check out Jeff Goodell’s excellent book The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World.