One of the most important tools for insurers and governments are maps produced by the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program. These are officially accepted maps that insurance companies use to determine insurance rates for homes and businesses in case of flooding and to set zoning ordinances by governments. The maps are available, but rarely seen by the public. One artist, Eve Mosher, in New York is making the information accessible (and updated for a global warming scenario) by chalking the streets and sidewalks of Brooklyn. Excerpt from the New York Times article:
The chalk demarcates a point 10 feet above sea level, a boundary now used by federal and state agencies and insurance companies to show where waters could rise after a major storm. Relying partly on research conducted by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University, Ms. Mosher is trying to draw attention to projections that the chance of flooding up to or beyond her line could increase significantly as a result of global warming.
In a worst-case scenario, according to the research, the line could mark the zone for flooding that would occur every eight years, on average, by the year 2050, meaning that dozens of neighborhoods would soon come to resemble Venice, or maybe ancient Alexandria.
Over the next several months, Ms. Mosher, 38, will extend her line through the coastal neighborhoods of southernmost Brooklyn and then move on to Manhattan to draw a line that begins at East 14th Street and loops around the bottom of the island, back up to West 14th Street.
Next she will return to Brooklyn and work her way from the Verrazano Bridge to the Battery Tunnel to Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, whose sludgy industrial topography could serve as a wanted poster for the kind of environmental damage that her project, called “High Water Line,” is warning against.