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Millions projected to be at risk from sea-level rise in the continental United States
Hauer, M.E.; Evans, J.M.; Mishra, D.R. (2016). Millions projected to be at risk from sea-level rise in the continental United States. Nat. Clim. Chang. 6(7): 691-695. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/nclimate2961
In: Nature Climate Change. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 1758-678X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hauer, M.E.
  • Evans, J.M.
  • Mishra, D.R.

Abstract
    Sea-level rise (SLR) is one of the most apparent climate change stressors facing human society. Although it is known that many people at present inhabit areas vulnerable to SLR, few studies have accounted for ongoing population growth when assessing the potential magnitude of future impacts. Here we address this issue by coupling a small-area population projection with a SLR vulnerability assessment across all United States coastal counties. We find that a 2100 SLR of 0.9?m places a land area projected to house 4.2 million people at risk of inundation, whereas 1.8?m affects 13.1 million people—approximately two times larger than indicated by current populations. These results suggest that the absence of protective measures could lead to US population movements of a magnitude similar to the twentieth century Great Migration of southern African-Americans. Furthermore, our population projection approach can be readily adapted to assess other hazards or to model future per capita economic impacts.

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