As climate change continues to warm the earth, the rate of sea level rise is accelerating and more so-called "superstorms" like Sandy will occur, scientists are warning.
In Connecticut, that means shoreline communities such as East Lyme and Old Lyme will more often bear the brunt of these severe storms and may even have to move some of their denizens to protect against rising waters and life-threatening storm sturges, James O'Donnell, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus told the Greenwich Times.
The situation could become a heated political one as shoreline towns seek more state and federal funding to protect coastal residences and businesses and those who live inland beging to balk at having to help pay those costs.
Just this week Congress approved $51 billion in aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. battering coastal communities and causing significant damage to the shorelines in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
After Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, O'Donnell said, he undertook a study of storm patterns "And what I found was that instead of getting a storm like Irene once every 20 years, it would be an annual event, more or less," he told the newspaper.
Connecticut has 618 miles of waterfront, including its coastline, inlets, sounds, islands and bays, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, stretching from Greenwich to Stonington. Some of that property is among the most valuable in the country.
O'Donnell said protecting those areas from rising waters and storms is possible, but costly.
"We can build wherever we want — it's a matter of money and environmental impact," he told the newspaper. "You'll have to weigh these costs and the benefits."