Study: Hundreds of coastal communities could face monthly flooding

Study: Hundreds of coastal communities could face monthly flooding

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists identified nearly 670 coastal areas in the United States that could face floods on a monthly basis by the end of the 21st century. Recurrent, tidally driven coastal flooding is one of the most visible signs of sea level rise. Such flooding is predicted to become more frequent and extensive as sea level continues to rise, potentially altering the landscape and livability of coastal communities. A fact sheet on the impacts to our state may be found here.

The report, which is discussed in this July 12 story on the Huffington Post, looks at three possible scenarios based upon the progress made in tackling climate change. The “low scenario” assumes a steep decline in carbon emissions; the “intermediate scenario” has emissions peaking at mid-century, which would result in around 4 feet of sea level rise; and the “high scenario” assumes emissions will rise through 2100, which would spur rapid ice melt around the globe and lead to at least 6.5 feet of sea level rise.

These results show that, in the absence of measures to manage increased flooding, effective inundation of coastal communities could become widespread within the next 40 years and encompass much of the coast by the end of the century. However, hundreds of communities in the U.S. could be spared effective inundation were the international community to adhere to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Whether or not those goals are met, in the coming decades, local, state, and federal governments will need comprehensive plans to provide resources and safe options for these impacted communities.