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Map Shows Where Sea Level Rise Will Drown American Cities

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Rising tides are already lapping away at shorelines from Bellingham to Biscayne Bay. And with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels steadily rising, many of the country’s coastal cities and towns will someday be under water.

That’s even if the December Paris climate talks lead to significant global emissions cuts. A new map from Climate Central shows how the water will flow into hundreds of US cities under the best and worst global warming scenarios. It uses data from an accompanying study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that links CO2 to sea level rise to the topographic contours of the coastal US.

Coastal topography maps accurate down to a few inches showed where the water would rise. “Local, state, and federal agencies have been flying lidar missions over coastal areas for 15 years now,” says Strauss. Finally they added the 2010 census, and used the historic high tide lines to measure which pixels (each representing about 15 feet per side on the ground) would be drowned in the inundated future.

Or at least, some version of the future. They projected their data using four future emissions scenarios, ranging from extreme carbon cuts to emissions-heavy business as usual.

Continue to the full article for the detailed maps.

In Canada, over 7 million Canadians live in coastal communities. ACT’s work on sea level rise has primarily been with the Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) project, a 5-year multinational research project to document these increased risks facing coastal cities. Learn more about our work with CCaR here.

 

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