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Several U.S. Coastal Cities Could Flood Often In 20 Years, Study Predicts
Updated August 3, 2017 6:21 AM
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(WASHINGTON) - Nearly 200 U.S. coastal cities might not be inhabitable by the next century due to rising sea levels - and some could be chronically affected by flooding in only 20 years, according to a newly released study

Talk Media News reports that New York, Boston, San Francisco and Miami are among the cities that could be affected by rising waters in 20, 50 or 80 years.

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a study this month listing the cities that will be inundated with water in the years to come. Inundation is defined as a non-wetland area flooding at least 26 times per year - the equivalent of a flood every other week."

The study deems as "chronically inundated" any coastal community that experiences this frequency of flooding over 10 percent or more of its land area, excluding wetlands and areas protected by levees.

Currrently 90 communities are already considered inundated, mostly in Louisiana and Maryland, where seas are rising and the land is sinking.

By 2060, the list grows to hundreds of coastal communities, including Galveston, Texas; Sanibel Island, Fla; Hilton Head, S.C.; Ocean City, Md., and many cities along the Jersey Shore.

By the end of the century, the list says, more than 50 cities with populations of more than 100,000 could be inundated, including Boston, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco and four of New York's five boroughs.

"Holding warming between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century could spare between roughly 200 and 380 US coastal communities, including nearly 50 major cities from chronic flooding," the study states.

The study stresses the urgency for cities to make decisions soon about how to prepare for flooding but also says communities and individuals cannot solve the problem alone - federal- and state-government interventions are vital.

Erika Spanger-Seigfried, a senior climate analyst for UCS who co-authored the study, called for beefing up federal policies and resources, as well as a renewed commitment to addressing climate change, in hopes of slowing the pace of rising sea levels.

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