An examination of the data suggests “quite possibly”.
You can read the press release from the Senator’s office here.
From CNS News video:
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) warns sports stadiums are at risk from the “sea level rise effects of climate change,” and that climate change specifically threatens hockey and skiing.
“We see significant sports facilities, the palaces of – of sport that are at risk from the storm, climate, sea-level rise effects of climate change,” Sen. Whitehouse said today following a closed-door climate discussion with executives from the NFL, NHL and NBA.
Hockey and skiing aside (which we’ll look at later), let’s check some stadiums and sea level, shall we? We’ll start with the largest stadium in Rhode Island, Brown Stadium, located under a mile from the water in the flatlands of East Providence:
The nearest NOAA tide gauge is not far south of the stadium, about 2.4 miles, and according to NOAA, it was established in 1938. Brown Stadium was built in 1925, so it should give us a good indication of the threat. Note the old piers in the photo:
And here is the sea level trend calculated by NOAA for the Providence tide gauge:
NOAA’s calculated rate is 0.64 feet per 100 years. Brown Stadium is about 110 feet above sea level according to Google Earth, so the calculation becomes:
110 feet / 0.0064 feet per year =17187.5 years
17,000 years! Hardly a problem for the present and it may not even be a problem for the future, as I sincerely doubt the stadium will last that long. We may be in a new ice age by then.
Let’s look at some others near his sphere of influence. How about the New York Giants stadium in the Meadowlands? Giants Stadium was demolished in 2010 and replaced by MetLife Stadium, located adjacent to its former site. Built in 1976, it only lasted just over 3 decades. It is about 2/3 of a mile from the nearest ocean linked waterway. According to Google Earth, it is about 10 feet above MSL, a fact that apparently didn’t concern the architects, backers, and owners of the new stadium.
The nearest tide gauge is The Battery, in New York City:
With MetLife Stadium being about 10 feet above MSL, the calculation becomes:
10 feet/.0091 feet per year = 1098.90 years
I’m willing to bet a new stadium will be built well before then wouldn’t you?
OK, How about Boston? Fenway Park isn’t far from the water, approximately 1/4 mile from the Charles River Basin and just across from MIT. Like the former Giants Stadium, it is a mere 10 feet above MSL.
The nearest NOAA tide gauge in Boston is located on the right side of the U.S. Coast Guard Building adjacent to Northern Avenue Bridge (now closed), about 2.3 miles from Fenway Park, which opened in 1912.
With Fenway Park at 10 feet AMSL, a rate of 0.86 feet/100 years the calculation becomes:
10 feet/0.0086 feet/year = 1162.79 years
Like Giants stadium, will Fenway park even be around then? Will it be around in 100 years or will it go the way of many older baseball parks, demolished and relocated/rebuilt to handle bigger crowds?
Climate alarmists often say that low lying Florida will be greatly affected by climate change induced sea level rise, and Miami will be underwater soon. So let’s try a sports stadium in Miami.
Sun Life Stadium in Miami (built 1987) hosts the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes football, annual Orange Bowl, and BCS National Championship Game every fourth year. Losing it to the sea would be a big deal. It is about 7.5 miles from the Atlantic ocean and about 6 feet above MSL according to Google Earth:
The nearest tide gauge is in Miami Beach about 13.5 miles away:
Unfortunately, the station was removed in 1981 after 50 years of service. I suppose sea level rise wasn’t a big concern or they would have kept it. The rate up until then wasn’t much different that the other tide gauges we’ve examined at 0.78 feet per 100 years. The nearest working gauge to Miami Beach is Naples, Fl, showing only 0.66 feet per 100 years.
With the Orange Bowl being 6 feet AMSL, the calculation becomes:
6 feet/ 0.0078 feet/year = 769.23 years.
Will we even have an Orange Bowl Game then? Who knows?
While Senator Whitehouse is from the east coast, maybe we’ve concentrated on the east coast too much. Let’s try the Gulf of Mexico. Surely the Mercedes-Benz Superdome stadium (built in 1975) in low lying New Orleans is threatened soon?
Notable is this entry in Wikipedia:
The Superdome was used as a “shelter of last resort” for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina when it struck in late August 2005.
Located about 1 mile from the Mississippi River, Google Earth pegs its elevation around 1-3 feet AMSL.
The nearest NOAA tide gauge is south of New Orleans, about 50 miles at Grand Isle, and is directly on the Gulf of Mexico. It has quite an astounding rate of sea level rise of 3.03 feet in 100 years.
With the Superdome being as low as 1 foot above MSL, the calculation becomes:
1 foot/0.0303 feet per year = 33.00 years
Some of us, though probably not Senator Whitehouse, will be around to see that. I have to wonder though why he isn’t calling for an abandonment/evacuation of the city or New Orleans, since many of the wards are below sea level now. Oh wait, that’s right, they’ve adapted to the subsidence that plagues the city, something they’ve know about for quite some time.
Maybe sea level is threatening west coast sports stadiums?
San Francisco is often depicted as being underwater, as evidenced by an alarm raised by The former Governator of California:
The map Schwarzenegger is pointing to comes from BCDC, and is shown below:
San Francisco’s new AT&T Park built in 2000, right on the bay, surely is threatened. It is located in one of the blue zones of the map above, just SW of the Bay Bridge.
According to Google Earth. AT&T park is about 9-10 feet above MSL.
The calculation becomes:
9 feet/ 0.0066 feet/year = 1363.63 years
It is more likely that San Francisco and the new stadium will devastated by an earthquake before then. And, chances are that A&T park won’t have much more of a lifetime than many of the others we’ve touched on in this article.
Maybe Senator Whitehouse was talking about Seattle. Yeah, that’s the ticket. CenturyLink Field (home to the SeaHawks) and the nearby Safeco Field (home to the Mariners) are right off the wharf, and less than 1/2 mile from Puget Sound.
Google Earth places their elevation at 17 feet above MSL a twofer double threat in the eyes of Senator Whitehouse I’m sure. The nearest NOAA tide gauge at Seattle just 1/2 mile northwest of the stadium at Colman Dock, has a calculated trend of 0.68 feet in 100 years.
The calculation becomes:
17 feet/ 0.0068 feet per year = 2500 years
Drats. Surely there must be a sports stadium somewhere in the USA that is threatened in the near future by sea level rise, so that closed door meetings with sports franchises with the highly distinguished senator from Rhode Island can make his sales pitch factual?
The facts suggest Senator Whitehouse doesn’t even fit the definition of useful idiot.
List of U.S. stadiums by capacity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._stadiums_by_capacity
NOAA Tides and Currents http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends.html