Study: Sea-Level Rise Threatens 1,400 U.S. Cities

"This is probably the most unique and novel way I've seen of talking about a longer time frame," says Peter Ruggiero, a coastal engineering scientist at Oregon State University. He says it's "useful," because most analyses look only at this century, and "the world doesn't end in 2100."
July 30, 2013

A rise in sea levels threatens the viability of more than 1,400 cities and towns, including Miami, Virginia Beach and Jacksonville, unless there are deep cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, says an analysis out Monday.

 
Prior emissions have already locked in 4 feet of future sea-level rise that will submerge parts of 316 municipalities, but the timing is unclear and could take hundreds of years, according to the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If global warming continues at its current rate through the year 2100, at least an additional 1,100 cities and towns will be mostly under water at high tide in the distant future.
 
"It's like this invisible threat," says author Benjamin Strauss,a scientist at Climate Central, a non-profit, non-advocacy research group based in Princeton, N.J., that's funded by foundations, individuals and federal grants. He says these sea levels are much higher than what's predicted this century — typically 1 to 4 feet — because climate change multiplies their impact over hundreds of years.

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