Report warns of sea level impacts on US coastal communities

A new report has warned that nearly 170 coastal communities in the United States face inundation over the next 20 years under moderate predictions of sea level rise.

The report, When Rising Seas Hit Home, released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), has warned that by 2060 more than 270 coastal US communities—including many that seldom or never experience tidal flooding today—will be chronically inundated, and by the end of the century, given moderate sea level rise, nearly 490 communities—including 40 percent of all East and Gulf Coast oceanfront communities—will be chronically inundated.

If sea level rises more rapidly, nearly 670 coastal US communities will face chronic inundation by the end of the century. including nearly 60 percent of East and Gulf Coast oceanfront communities as well as a small but growing number of West Coast communities.

These would include heavily populated areas including Oakland, California; Miami and St. Petersburg, Florida; and four of the five boroughs of New York City.

The report concluded that there is still time to prevent such widespread chronic inundation.

"Large-scale reductions in global warming emissions, similar to those planned under the international climate deal known as the Paris Agreement, may slow the rate at which sea level rise is accelerating and save many communities from chronic inundation. For hundreds of other cities and towns, however, increased flooding is inevitable, and adaptation is now essential."

The report is available here.

Subscribe to The Climate Leadership Report

Interested in Local Government news and events?  

Click here to view the Local Government Report.