Under normal odds, the chance that a New York City or Jersey Shore resident would witness a so-called "500-year flood" – one with massive storm surge and flooding – would be so low, many residents would never live to witness one… "A storm that occurred once in seven generations is now occurring twice in a generation," said Benjamin Horton, a Rutgers University marine and coastal sciences professor… According to Horton and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton, Tufts and Penn State universities, rising sea levels and increases in the types of storms that produce the largest storm surge are behind the rising threat… To look further into the past, the researchers studied salt marshes near New York City and along the Jersey shore. They took ground core samples, looking for microfossils called foraminifera. According to Horton, some species of foraminifera are linked to salt marsh growth and, therefore, high ocean levels. Others do not thrive in salt water, and would indicate fresh water and lower ocean levels.
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