The idea of climate change affecting the planet is hardly contested anymore; the evidence is fairly conclusive. As the planet warms up, sea levels are expected to rise due to glacial melt and thermal expansion (of the water). This rise in sea level has many low lying nations concerned for their future existence, especially following a recent report by the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which predicted the seas will rise by nearly 6.6 feet (2 metres) by 2100. The Maldives are looking to buy land in Australia, and Fiji is in negotiations with Kiribati to purchase land in high lying areas to where they can relocate their populations.
Two studies have just been released in the journal Environmental Research Letters, which suggest that nearly 4 million Americans could also be under water by the turn of the century. The first study was carried out by researchers from Climate Central and the University of Arizona, to determine the effects of a rise in sea level of 3.3 feet (1 metre) by the end of the century. They found that the coast around the Gulf of Mexico is the most vulnerable to serious flooding, with Florida the most exposed city, although Los Angeles has also been highlighted as an area for concern. Previous research has suggested that floods in California could reach dangerous heights quicker than any other mainland area in the US.
Ben Straus, co-author of both recent studies, said that, “the sea-level rise taking place right now is quickly making extreme coastal floods more common, increasing risk for millions of people where they live and work. Sea-level rise makes every single coastal storm flood higher.”
In the second study Straus et al. used past data on the effects of heavy storms on water levels in conjunction with estimates for the sea level rise in the future. They found that water levels only ever experienced once every 100 years or so could regularly occur every decade. They stated that annual flooding could increase to a level equal to that infamously experienced by New York back in 1992, which flooded the subway system.
Straus said that, “with so many communities concentrated on U.S. coasts, the odds for major damage get bigger every year.”
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com