Here’s some cheery news!
(Reuters) – For the nearly 5 million people who live along the U.S. coasts from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast, rising seas fueled by global warming have doubled the risk of so-called once-a-century floods, according to a trio of environmental reports released on Wednesday.
These new reports – one from the non-profit group Climate Central and two others published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters – offer a detailed picture of where the most severe risks are along coastlines of the contiguous 48 states.
Based on 2010 U.S. Census population data and a fresh analysis of high tide lines by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Climate Central report’s findings can be seen online at surgingseas.org
South Florida may be “indefensible” against floods caused by higher seas and the bigger storm surges that are expected to result, said Ben Strauss, an expert on ecology and evolutionary biology who is chief operating officer of Climate Central. He co-authored the two journal reports and the online report.
An estimated $30 billion in taxable property is vulnerable in southeast Florida alone, according to a preliminary independent analysis cited in the report.
In California, some places that have never seen severe floods could be vulnerable to them in the next decade or two, Strauss said.
[...] Cities are likely to be hit hardest, Strauss said, with 90 percent of the impact projected to come in areas with extremely dense population.
In 285 coastal cities and towns, more than half the population lives below the 4-foot mark, the Climate Central report found. Florida has 106 of these at-risk municipalities; Louisiana has 65, New Jersey and North Carolina have 22 each, Maryland has 14, New York has 13 and Virginia has 10.
Florida is a special case because in addition to rising seas and storm surges, its geology and system of drainage canals pose complex problems. “Basically, south Florida in the long term is indefensible,” Strauss said.