By Tony Barteleme
Turbocharged by a warming climate, rain bombs and rising seas swamped the South Carolina Lowcountry this year, sending murky floodwaters into streets, businesses and homes.
At the same time, developers continue to transform forests and wetlands into even more homes and shopping centers — destroying acres and acres of spongy land that could help sop up these rising waters.
A new analysis requested by The Post and Courier for the Rising Waters project shows how the Charleston area’s unprecedented building boom made us more vulnerable amid the accelerating forces of climate change.
Researchers at the College of Charleston’s Lowcountry Hazards Center used advanced satellite and aerial imagery to measure changes in the area’s tree canopy — a key measure of the land’s ability to naturally manage flooding rains.
What emerged is among the most nuanced looks yet at how our land has changed in recent decades, a powerful new tool for residents and planners alike.