Higher sea levels due to climate change will flood hundreds of US cities including New York, Boston, San Francisco and Miami, in the next 20, 50 or 80 years, according to a study.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a study Wednesday listing the cities that will be inundated with water in the years to come, with inundation defined as a “non-wetland area is flooded at least 26 times per year or the equivalent of a flood every other week”, reports CNN.
“Between 165 and 180 chronically inundated communities in just the next 15 to 20 years; between 270 and 360 in roughly 40 years, depending on the pace of sea level rise; and 490 by end of century with a moderate sea level rise scenario,” co-author and senior climate analyst for UCS, Erika Spanger-Seigfried said.
“With a higher sea level rise scenario, that number rises to about 670; that’s about half of all of the oceanfront communities in the lower 48.”
Ninety communities are considered “inundated today”, mostly in Louisiana and Maryland, where seas are rising and the land is sinking.
“This study highlights something it’s really important for people to understand. Sea level rise means sharp growth in coastal flooding. In fact, most coastal floods today are already driven by human-caused sea level rise,” CNN quoted Strauss as saying.
According to the study, the cities expected to be inundated by 2035 include places along the Jersey Shore and in parts of North Carolina, south Louisiana and neighbouring areas that have been known as vulnerable for years.
By 2060, the list grows to hundreds of coastal communities, large and small: cities like Galveston, Texas; Sanibel Island, Florida; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Ocean City, Maryland; and many cities along the Jersey Shore.
By the end of the century, the study said, more than 50 cities with populations of more than 100,000 could be affected.
Cities like Boston; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and four of the five boroughs of New York will be considered inundated.
Although the West Coast seems to be spared the brunt of inundation over the next few decades, even places like San Francisco and Los Angeles will be on the list by 2100.