New Orleans, the New Atlantis?

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

And other recent science discoveries

by Otto Johnson

More Discoveries

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the city of New Orleans may be submerged under water by the year 2100 due to subsidence (the natural sinking of land), wetland loss, predicted sea-level rise, and an absence of proper restoration programs.

Catastrophic Coastal Conditions

Researchers at the University of New Orleans have spent years identifying the problems causing the catastrophic coastal conditions. Currently, 40% of all coastal wetlands in the United States are located in Louisiana, and 80% of all wetland loss in the nation occurs in Louisiana.

25 Sq. Miles Lost Per Year

From 1930 to 1990, the Mississippi River Delta lost more than 1,000 square miles of land. The current land loss rate is approximately 25 square miles (16,000 acres) of wetlands per year, and the city of New Orleans is sinking three feet per century.

Despite the city's bleak future, researchers have shown that the coastal ecosystem, while damaged, is sufficiently intact for restoration efforts to manage the problem.

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