New York City is dealing with a significant and complex problem. It faces two interconnected issues: sinking caused by its buildings and rising sea levels. Recent studies have shown that high-rise structures contribute to the sinking, and local sea levels are rising twice as fast as the global average. This presents a big challenge for the city. By 2050, the sea level is expected to rise between 8 and 30 inches, which will create major difficulties that need to be tackled. Researchers have identified factors contributing to New York City’s sinking. Certain areas of the city, including lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the north end of Staten Island, experience sinking at a faster rate of up to 4.5 millimeters per year. Construction on soft soils and artificial fill explain some of the sinking, but unexplained instances remain. Experts are actively investigating this complex phenomenon to find answers.

The sinking of cities due to rising sea levels is a worldwide issue, as seen in Jakarta’s capital relocation due to rapid sinking. Researchers studied 99 cities globally, examining the effects of urban construction on coastal land sinking. Using computer models and satellite data, they estimated sinking rates and identified vulnerable areas. New York City, with its densely populated infrastructure in low-lying zones, is especially at risk. Understanding landscape changes is vital to developing strategies to reduce the impact of future sea level rise.