Coral reefs can protect coastal cities from deadly floods, if only we keep them alive.
Hurricane Ian was not just a powerful storm, but a preview of what’s to come. Climate change is helping cyclones intensify faster, produce greater storm surges, and dump more rain — all of which makes hurricanes more destructive and expensive. One early assessment for Ian indicates it cost as much as $40 billion in property damage.
Engineers have long defended against the threat of hurricanes by building structures like levees and seawalls. Yet these tools are imperfect. They can damage the environment, they don’t always hold the water back, and they can be pricey themselves.
But for many communities, a simpler (and cheaper) solution could be a big help: restoring coral reefs.