U.S. coastal communities, home to more than 13 million people, are at risk of being completely flooded by rising sea levels within the century under a worst-case climate change scenario, new research publishedMonday reveals.
In a scenario involving a 6ft rise by 2100, a total of 13.1 million people—more than 6 million of whom would be living in Florida—would be at risk of catastrophic flooding, according to the study, published in Nature Climate Change. In a 2.9 ft rise, 4.3 million people could be impacted.
“Sea level rise is widely recognized as one of the most likely and socially disruptive consequences of future climate change,” states the study, led by the University of Georgia. “Florida accounts for nearly half of the total at-risk population. Whereas other south-eastern states have substantially fewer people at risk, states such as Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana have over 10% of future coastal populations at risk under the 1.8m scenario.”