15 Feb 2011:
Future Effects of Rising Seas
Depicted for U.S. in New Study and Map
Rising sea levels could inundate 9 percent of the land within 180 U.S. cities
by 2100, with cities along the
Gulf of Mexico and the south Atlantic coast facing the most critical threats, according to a new study. Using elevation data from the U.S. Geological Survey, researchers at the University of Arizona created digital maps of the U.S. coast that delineate the areas that would be affected if seas rise three feet this century and up to 20 feet in subsequent centuries
as ice sheets and glaciers melt worldwide. According to the projections, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va. could lose 10 percent of their land area to rising seas by the end of the century. If sea levels rise 10 feet, more than 20 percent of the land in these cities would be inundated. And if sea levels increase 20 feet in subsequent centuries, about one-third of the land area of U.S. coastal cities will be affected, according to the study, to be published in the journal Climatic Change Letters
. As the maps illustrate, not only oceanfront property will be affected by rising waters, but also land connected to the sea by channels, creeks, inlets, and nearby low-lying areas.
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