Rising seas to affect major US coastal cities by 2100

February 16th, 2011 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 16 (IANS) Rising sea levels could threaten an average nine percent of the land within 180 US coastal cities by 2100, a new study says.

The research, led by University of Arizona scientists, is the first analysis of the vulnerability of US coastal cities to rising sea levels.

The latest scientific projections indicate that by 2100, the sea level will rise about one metre — or even more.

At the current rate of global warming, the sea level is projected to continue rising after 2100 by as much as one metre per century, according to an Arizona statement.

“According to the most recent sea-level-rise science, that’s where we’re heading,” said Jeremy L. Weiss, senior research geoscientist at the University of Arizona.

“The impacts from sea-level rise could be erosion, temporary flooding and permanent inundation.”

The coastal municipalities the team identified had 40.5 million people living in them, according to the 2000 US Census. Twenty of those cities have more than 300,000 inhabitants.

Weiss and his colleagues examined how much land area from the 180 municipalities could be affected by 1 to 6 metres of sea-level rise.

“With the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, the projections are that the global average temperature will be 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than present by 2100,” said Weiss, a doctoral candidate in geosciences.

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