It is not the first of its kind, but a newly published study of rising levels of greenhouse gases details the number of American cities and municipalities at risk of being flooded in the future and how many may already be committed to that fate.
To no one’s surprise, Floridians are facing the worst potential result.
“Under all scenarios, Florida has the plurality or majority of committed cities with total population greater than 100,000,” reads the study, which appeared Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was co-authored by Scott Kulp of Climate Central and Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
“For unabated climate change, we find that land that is home to more than 20 million people is implicated and is widely distributed among different states and coasts. The total area includes 1,185-1,825 municipalities where land that is home to more than half of the current population would be affected, among them at least 21 cities exceeding 100,000 residents,” reads the study, titled “Carbon choices determine U.S. cities committed to futures below sea level.”
The determination comes from analysis based on previously published relationships linking emissions to warming, and warming to sea-level rise, that indicates unabated carbon emissions up to the year 2100 would cause an eventual global sea-level rise of 14 to nearly 33 feet.
The study also finds that decisions made in this century will determine whether 14 U.S. cities with a population greater than 100,000 also will experience flooding of at least half of their populated areas. Such cities include Jacksonville, Fla.; Norfolk, Va.; and Sacramento, Calif.