March 15, 2016

"As many as 13.1 million people living along U.S. coastlines could face flooding by the end of the century because of rising sea levels, according to a new study that warns that large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate to higher ground."

LA Times: The estimated number of coastal dwellers affected by rising sea level is three times higher than previously projected, according to the study published Monday in the science journal Nature Climate Change. by Ann M. Simmons

'As many as 1 million California residents could be affected. If protective measures are not implemented, the study says, large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate in a migration mirroring the scale of the Great Migration of African Americans from Southern states during the 20th century.

'“We’ve been underestimating what those potential impacts could be,” said Mathew Hauer, one of the coauthors of the study. He is an applied demographer at the University of Georgia, Athens, and a doctoral candidate in the school’s geography department.

'Rising sea levels, widely believed to be the result of climate change, are threatening to wipe out some of the world's island nations, such as the Maldives in South Asia that scientists say could vanish under water this century. The traditional approach to assessing the effects of rising sea levels is to look at the current population and infrastructure, Hauer said. His study accounts for ongoing population growth.

'“Coastal communities are among some of the most rapidly growing in the United States, so we have to think about the anticipated expansion of those populations that is likely to occur in this century,” Hauer said. Hauer and his colleagues combined environmental data, such as elevations and flood risks for specific locations, with small-scale population projections for U.S. coastal states and projected sea-level rise from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.'

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