Recent maps created with NASA airborne radar data show that the ground beneath New Orleans is sinking as much as two inches per year in some areas. The most severe sinking, or subsidence, is happening near industrial areas along the Mississippi River, and in some cases is being caused by the same industrial activity, such as when groundwater pumping lowers the water table. Other culprits include oil and gas pumping and compaction of shallow sediments. Given the susceptibility of lower areas to flooding, the fact that this is happening most quickly near chemical plants and oil refineries is particularly troubling.
In addition to the land sinking beneath it, scientists predict that rising sea levels will swallow New Orleans by 2100 if nothing is done to reduce CO2 emissions. Given that some of the most drastic subsidence (1.6 inches or 4 cm per year) is happening along the last lines of defense against spring floods, New Orleans is in an especially precarious position.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as these maps can be used to create detailed disaster preparedness plans, and to improve the models used to predict subsidence. Industries can now use supply chain mapping to estimate the risks of subsidence and sea level rise at all of the sites in their supplier network.
Want to learn more about mapping your own supply chain to anticipate and prepare for risks like these? Request a demo here.