Analysis should be 'wake-up call' for hundreds of coastal communities who 'will face chronic inundation', study says
Rising sea levels will threaten hundreds of coastal U.S. communities with disruptive flooding that will affect homes, daily routines, and livelihoods over the following decades, a new study said Wednesday.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the number of communities who "will face chronic inundation" will double to 270 by 2035 under moderate to high scenarios.
Chronic inundation is the threshold for sea level rise and chronic flooding each community has. Beyond that threshold, sustaining normal routines becomes impossible.
"We hope this analysis provides a wake-up call to coastal communities—and us as a nation—so we can see this coming and have time to prepare,” said Erika Spanger-Siegfried, a senior analyst with the Union.
Communities that will be affected earliest lie along the Gulf, mid-Atlantic and eastern coasts. They include Florida's Key West, Cape Sable, Key Biscayne; Galveston in Texas; Wildwood and Ocean City in New Jersey and Ascension, Louisiana.
Miami, San Francisco and New York are also among the areas that are under threat in the next 30-80 years.
“By 2060, hundreds of U.S. coastal communities—cities and towns of all kinds—face chronic inundation,” said Kristy Dahl, a report author and climate scientist consultant to UCS.
“In Texas, for example, bigger cities and industrial centers like Galveston and Sabine Pass become chronically inundated by mid-century.
“So do many tourist destinations, such as Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Florida, Hilton Head in South Carolina, Ocean City in Maryland, and more than a dozen towns along the Jersey Shore.”
The study comes on the same day a group of U.K.-based scientists announced an iceberg roughly the same size as the U.S. state of Delaware broke off from the Antarctic Ice Shelf.
The trillion ton iceberg is one of the largest on record.