U.S. Land in Flood Plains Could Increase 45 Percent, Study Says

The amount of U.S. land located within flood plain zones is expected to increase by 40 to 45 percent by the end of this century, according to a study of the impacts of climate change on the federal flood insurance program. The study, which will be released later this summer, projects that a widening threat of rising waters along ocean coastlines and in river valleys as a result of climate change — including rising seas, greater downpours and more intense coastal storms — could double the number of policies in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by 2100, ClimateWire reports. The federal program now insures about 5.6 million homes and businesses and is valued at $1.2 trillion. Mark Crowell, a geologist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told a conference that the findings suggest “a need for FEMA to incorporate the effects of climate change more directly into various aspects of the NFIP.” A recent study predicted that rising sea levels could inundate 9 percent of the land in 180 U.S. cities by 2100.