Nature Communications, October 2019, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12808-z 7:11969 doi: 10.1038/ncomms11969 (2016). In small islands states, as elsewhere, land could become uninhabitable well before it disappears. Net migration toward or away from low-lying areas will also contribute to population change. How much it will rise depends mostly on the rate of future carbon dioxide emissions and future global warming. Home to 26 million people, Shanghai is China’s biggest single urban agglomeration. Sea Level Rise. Sea level projections to AD2500 with a new generation of climate change scenarios. Special Thanks. Hard to miss the human influence in the 20th century. Separately, Climate Central added in local flood risk statistics approximating the one-year return level (approximately annual) water height (Muis et al. But in the coming decades, the greatest effects will be felt in Asia, thanks to the number of people living in the continent’s low-lying coastal areas. Read More. In the Maldives, the figure is one in three. In recent decades, China’s coastal provinces have attracted millions of migrants from the country’s interior and have become important centers in the global economy. Underestimates of flood heights produce underestimates of inundation. Remote Sensing of Environment 115, 1576–1587 (2011). Moderate emissions cuts (RCP 4.5), Kopp et al. Global data on protective features such as levees and seawalls are not publicly available, so those features, which reduce exposure to sea level rise, are not incorporated into this analysis. 2) Population data. Interactive global map showing areas threatened by sea level rise and coastal flooding. However, this report focuses on median projections from a sea level rise model that does not incorporate the higher end of potential ice sheet sensitivity (Kopp et al. & Grinsted, A. As humanity pollutes the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, the planet warms. Then move the water gauge up a foot, or two feet, or nine feet. It could also disrupt global supply chains by limiting access to ports and coastal transportation. However, global population has grown since 2010 and is projected to grow further this century, including in countries exposed to sea level rise and annual flooding. By 2050, land now home to 93 million people could be lower than the height of the local average annual coastal flood. Ice sheet contributions to future sea-level rise from structured expert judgment. Claudia Tebaldi et al 2012 Environ. Based on sea level projections for 2050, land currently home to 300 million people will fall below the elevation of an average annual coastal flood. And well before that land is flooded, residents will face saltwater intrusion into freshwater supplies and frequent flooding. In Vietnam, annual ocean floods are projected to particularly affect the densely populated Mekong Delta and the northern coast around Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, including the port city of Haiphong (explore map at coastal.climatecentral.org). Experts say yes, Report: Flooded Future: Global vulnerability to sea level rise worse than previously understood, Extreme Heat: When Outdoor Sports Become Risky, Climate Change is Threatening Air Quality across the Country, Ocean at the Door: New Homes and the Rising Sea. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision, custom data acquired via website. Earth’s Future, 2, 383–406, doi:10.1002/2014EF000239 Future coastal flood threats in Shanghai, China Sea level rise is a global story, and it affects every coastal nation. The burning of fossil fuels increased the average global temperature over the years, and disproportionately increased temperatures across the Arctic, resulting in … Every global shore touches the same ocean, and the ocean is rising. URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425717306016. To the many organizations that have financially supported Climate Central and its sea level program, including The Kresge Foundation and The Schmidt Family Foundation. Such cuts would reduce the total number of people threatened by annual flooding and permanent inundation at the end of the century by 20 million, relative to moderate emissions cuts made roughly in line with the Paris agreement. Over the course of the twenty-first century, global sea levels are projected to rise between about 2 and 7 feet, and possibly more. Climate Central calculated that “roughly three-quarters of the tidal flood days now occurring in towns along the East Coast would not be happening in the absence of the rise in the sea level caused by human emissions.” (See “Storms and Flooding” below.) Our scientists publish and our journalists report on climate science, energy, sea level rise. (Even the country’s most infamous refugee crisis could be exacerbated by sea level rise: in recent years, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have fled violence in neighboring Myanmar, many settling in the low-lying region south of Chittagong—an area that could itself be vulnerable to at-least-annual ocean flooding by 2050, projections based on CoastalDEM show.). First, as the oceans warm due to an increasing global temperature, seawater expands—taking up more space in the ocean basin and causing a rise in water level. More precise data gathered from satellite radar measurements reveal an accelerating rise of 7.5 cm (3.0 in) from 1993 to 2017,: 1554 which is a trend of roughly 30 cm (12 in) per century. This report relies on 2010 LandScan data for global population estimates and refers to that data as current. Jiangsu Province, China’s most densely populated province, could be highly vulnerable to chronic ocean flooding in just thirty years. The bad news is again concentrated in Asia. That factor is coastal elevation. According to a Climate Central report this week, “Sea level rise is one of the best known of climate change’s many dangers. Finally, the relatively coarse spatial resolution of LandScan data likely introduces some error into results (LandScan estimates population on a global grid of roughly 1km x 1km cells). 7 014032 https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/014032/meta; Buchanan, M.K., Kopp, R.E., Oppenheimer, M. et al., Climatic Change (2016) 137: 347. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1664-7 Special Thanks. Unchecked emissions would threaten the permanent inundation of land now home to 30 million more people than would be the case under moderate emissions cuts, and 50 million more than would be the case under deep, global emissions cuts (in line with the emissions pathway known as RCP 2.6). 4) Climate scenarios. Downloadable data includes local, state and national analysis results, and our methods explain in detail how we generated our data and maps. The Social Vulnerability Index , which shows areas of high human vulnerability to hazards, is based on population attributes from Census 2010 (e.g., age and poverty) and the built environment. CoastalDEM represents an important improvement over SRTM. Sea level rise is a result of heat-trapping pollution from human activities, which causes ice sheets and glaciers to melt, increasing the volume of water in the oceans. Emissions pathway: moderate emissions cuts (RCP 4.5) roughly consistent with the Paris climate agreement’s two-degree target. Since 1900, it's gone up an average of eight inches around the world, due to global warming. This will happen not just in the distant future, but also within the lifetimes of most people alive today. Notably, the benefits of deep emissions cuts would reach far beyond sea level rise, reducing the danger posed by climate change’s many other risks. This clouds understanding of where and when sea level rise could affect coastal communities in the most vulnerable parts of the world. Today, one in every four Bangladeshis lives on land that could flood at least once a year, on average, by 2050. That model, CoastalDEM, shows that many of the world’s coastlines are far lower than has been generally known and that sea level rise could affect hundreds of millions of more people in the coming decades than previously understood. Next, consider India’s situation in 2050. Back to top Jackson, L. P. & Jevrejeva, S. A probabilistic approach to 21st century regional sea-level projections using RCP and High-end scenarios. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 2013). “Cities boom and bust,” said Benjamin Strauss, coauthor of the new study and vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central, which researches and reports on climate change. Special Thanks. Projecting the specific economic, humanitarian, and political costs of the upward revision in global exposure to sea level rise revealed by CoastalDEM is beyond the scope of this report. China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are home to the greatest number of people who today live on land that could be threatened by permanent inundation by 2100—151 million in total, and 43 million in China alone. New Climate Satellite Measures Sea Level Rise Space is the best place — maybe the only place — to get a complete picture of how climate change is affecting the Earth's oceans. Every global shore touches the same ocean, and the ocean is rising. & Messina, J. Geoscientific Model Development 10, 2495–2524 (2017). To the many organizations that have financially supported Climate Central and its sea level program, including The Kresge Foundation and The Schmidt Family Foundation. Sea level rise is one of the best known of climate change’s many dangers. A global reanalysis of storm surges and extreme sea levels. However, this analysis assesses overland flood exposure based on elevation, and does not use dynamic modeling. 5) Protective features. Climate Central’s new mapping tool enables users to explore risks over time, for any coastal location in the world, incorporating multiple pollution scenarios, leading sea level rise models, and the most accurate available elevation data available—including Climate Central’s new CoastalDEM® elevation data for areas outside the United States. Moreover, such features are costly and require significant maintenance on an ongoing basis in order to be effective; in the U.S., for example, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated in 2013 that only 8% of existing levees it had monitored were in “acceptable” condition. 12 064009 https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6cb3/meta In low-elevation coastal areas in the United States with population densities over 50,000 people per square mile, such as parts of Boston, Miami, and New York City, SRTM overestimates elevation by 15.5 feet on average. The second mechanism is the melting of ice over land, which then adds water to the ocean. Springer, Cham. Current population below the elevation of an average annual flood in 2050, top six countries Lett. A new digital elevation model produced by Climate Central helps fill the gap. Sea level rise is a result of heat-trapping pollution from human activities, which causes ice sheets and glaciers to melt, increasing the volume of water in the oceans. Global sea level rise began around the start of the 20th century. 13. Global warming has raised global sea level about 8" since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Environmental Research Letters, 12(4), 044013. http://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6512 2. And in states around the world, mass displacement could shape national politics. 1 When averaged over all of the world’s oceans, absolute sea level has risen at an average rate of 0.06 inches per year from 1880 to 2013 (see Figure 1). Kulp, S. A & Strauss, B.H. Risk Zone Map shows near-term sea level rise and coastal flood threats. Yet as researchers have labored over sea level rise models, another factor critical to understanding the world’s vulnerability to rising waters has been largely overlooked. The key variables will be how much warming pollution humanity dumps into the atmosphere and how quickly the land-based ice sheets in Greenland and especially Antarctica destabilize. How fast it will rise depends mostly on the rate of glacier and ice sheet melting. Deep, immediate cuts to global emissions would modestly reduce the danger posed by rising seas this century. Between 1900 and 2016, the globally averaged sea level rose by 16–21 cm (6.3–8.3 in). A flood peaking at a certain height will generally not inundate 100 percent of the nearby area below that height, if the flood peaks and redescends rapidly. Stocker, T. et al. Three of every four people in the Marshall Islands now live on land that could lie below high tide in the next eighty years. Back to top A new interactive map from nonprofit organization Climate Central gives an unsettling visualization of what New York City would look like, should sea levels drastically rise. Shanghai, which is the country’s most populous city, is projected to be particularly vulnerable to ocean flooding in the absence of coastal defenses (box 4). Commun. Special Thanks. Shortridge, A. By 2100, land now home to 200 million people could sit permanently below the high tide line. It is the peer-reviewed scientific paper upon which this report is based. Source: Pinterest For example, climate activists often claim the island nation of Tuvalu is sinking under rising seas and spawning climate refugees. Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Future coastal flood threats in Kolkata, India Coastal displacement could shrink local tax bases, straining municipalities’ abilities to pay for public goods such as education. LaLonde, T., Shortridge, A. Sea level rise isn’t consistent across the globe. Global and Planetary Change (2012). This Climate Central map shows how […] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2018). The multi-part tool provides local sea level rise and flood risk projections, searchable interactive maps, “fast look” community reports, data downloads, and exposure tabulations by zip codes, municipalities, counties, and more. This study’s middle-of-the-road projections for 2030 range from one inch of local sea level rise in the northwest corner of Washington State, where the land is slowly rising, to 8 inches near New Orleans, where it is sinking. This process was repeated for a number of different years and sea level rise model sensitivities, and under low, moderate, and high emissions pathways for heat-trapping pollution (Representative Concentration Pathways 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5), in order to achieve a comprehensive assessment of global coastal vulnerability. 9. If governments seek to limit future impacts from ocean flooding, they could also avoid new construction in areas at high risk of inundation, while protecting, relocating, or abandoning existing infrastructure and settlements. This population is almost certainly protected to some degree by existing coastal defenses, which may or may not be adequate for future sea levels. Explore where, when and what could be impacted near you. Chart 1. Remote Sensing of Environment 206, 231–239 (2018). Lett. Flooding can be costly because it can displace productive local economies dependent on density and convenient coastal locations. 11. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51274-7_1 Probabilistic 21st and 22nd century sea-level projections at a global network of tide-gauge sites. So are Tianjin, the main port for the capital city of Beijing, and the Pearl River Delta region, an urban agglomeration comprising several major mainland cities and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau (explore map at coastal.climatecentral.org). Integrates the leading sea level rise science, local flood history, and cutting-edge elevation data Customizable by year, projection type, sea level rise model, pollution scenario, and more Combine these layers with your own GIS data to learn what areas you care about are at risk of flooding An independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public. National Bureau of Statistics of China, National Data, custom information acquired via website. This approach is highly efficient but overestimates inundation, because coastal floods take time to travel over land. URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425711000678. Kulp, S. A & Strauss, B.H. Our scientists publish and our journalists report on climate science, energy, sea level rise. Although SRTM data are freely available online, they are less reliable than lidar. Back to top. Box 3 (below) details caveats and limitations for this report’s findings. The pace of sea level rise accelerated beginning in the 1990s, coinciding with acceleration in glacier and ice sheet melting. Scientific Reports 7, 3880 (2017). In coastal regions, overestimates of elevation produce underestimates of future inundation driven by sea level rise. Muis, S. et al. Economic losses in China would matter for the rest of the world: the country is responsible for more than a quarter of the growth in today’s global economy and is projected to remain the world’s biggest economy, in purchasing power parity terms, in 2050. Desmet, Klaus & Kopp, Robert & Kulp, Scott A. Tools from NOAA, Climate Central, Information is Beautiful, and EarthTime are helpful for visualizing the effects of sea level rise. Moderate emissions cuts. First, as the oceans warm due to an increasing global temperature, seawater expands—taking up more space in the ocean basin and causing a rise in water level. That is the purpose of CoastalDEM. Risk Finder includes projections, analysis, and downloadable graphics and reports for every coastal city, county, and state -- and more -- in the contiguous U.S. Climate Central used machine learning techniques to estimate SRTM elevation error in coastal areas between (and including) 1 and 20 meters (3.3 and 65.6 feet) in nominal SRTM elevation. Combining CoastalDEM with sea-level-rise and coastal-flood models produces new estimates of exposure to rising seas around the world (box 2). Dangendorf, S. et al. Those estimates reveal that far more land—and more people—will be vulnerable to sea level rise during this century than previously believed (chart 1). Scientists agree that climate change has been driving a rise in global sea level, and the rise will accelerate, leading to ocean intrusion on land and aggravated coastal flood risk. Maya K Buchanan et al 2017 Environ. & Nagy, Dávid Krisztián & Oppenheimer, Michael & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban & Strauss, Benjamin H., 2018. However, sufficiently accurate elevation data are either unavailable or inaccessible to the public, or prohibitively expensive in most of the world outside the United States, Australia, and parts of Europe. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision, custom data acquired via website. The Climate Central sea level rise group conceived and maintains this tool. A closer look at the cases of mainland China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam sheds light on the scope of the problem. 6. 1. Even as land home to 200 million people today will be threatened by permanent inundation, areas now home to an additional 360 million will face the threat of at-least annual floods, totalling more than half-a-billion people on highly vulnerable land. To better understand the potential impact on vulnerable U.S. populations and to aid resiliency planning, we assess the growing exposure of affordable housing with unprecedented geographic resolution and national comprehensiveness. Developed using machine learning working with more than 51 million data samples (see methodology), the new dataset is substantially more accurate than SRTM, particularly in densely populated areas—precisely those places where the most people and structures are threatened by rising seas. Source: The Florida Oceans and Coastal Council. In: Andreone G. (eds) The Future of the Law of the Sea. Take the case of the coastal provinces of China, the country that today is home to more people who live on land vulnerable to chronic flooding at midcentury than any other. Climate Central just completed a novel analysis of worldwide exposure to sea level rise and coastal flooding. In Proceedings of the ASPRS/MAPPS 2009 Fall Conference 351 (2009). Storm Surge and Sea Level Rise: Advancing Waters As the climate warms, rising sea levels will mean more damage from hurricane storm surge. Researchers say it’s the first study to overlay affordable housing data — including both subsidized and free market low-income units — with sea level rise and flood risk data. Kopp, R. E. et al. The Climate Central sea level rise group conceived and maintains this tool. CoastalDEM offers important improvements over the most common alternative. 4. All of them are expensive, limiting the options available for a city in decline. Understanding the real threat posed by future sea level rise requires a better view of the ground beneath our feet. SRTM is known to contain significant error caused by factors such as topology, vegetation, buildings, and random noise. Estimates of future economic losses from sea level rise vary depending on the amount of climate pollution and subsequent rise projected, as well as other factors, such as whether future population growth, innovation, or migration are considered. For more details, see Kulp and Strauss 2019, published in Nature Communications. Key Points. In fact, using CoastalDEM’s improved data on coastal elevation makes a bigger difference in projected exposure to ocean flooding than does switching from a low-end to a high-end sea-level-rise scenario when SRTM data are used. Jonathan L. Bamber, Michael Oppenheimer, Robert E. Kopp, Willy P. Aspinall, Roger M. Cooke. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated last month in a special report on the oceans that global average sea levels could rise by up to … “Evaluating the Economic Cost of Coastal Flooding,” CEPR Discussion Papers 13128, C.E.P.R. Sea level rise could also produce humanitarian crises by stripping millions of people of their homes and traditional livelihoods. Use the “+” button to zoom in. The second mechanism is the melting of ice over land, which then adds water to the ocean. More sea level resources from Climate Central. Bamber, J., et al. By 2100, sea level may be as high as six-and-a-half feet above 1992 levels, putting the homes of 7.8 million Americans at risk of being flooded. Tighe, M. & Chamberlain, D. Accuracy Comparison of the SRTM, ASTER, NED, NEXTMAP USA Digital Terrain Model over Several USA Study Sites DEMs. The recent migration that has figured so prominently in recent European elections pales in comparison to the potential displacements of the coming decades, when many millions of people could flee rising seas around the world—both across borders, and within them. General Disclaimer & Legal Terms Those projections are near the upper end of current scientific judgement about the plausible range of outcomes. And as it does so, ice sheets and glaciers melt and warming sea water expands, increasing the volume of the world’s oceans. Rising seas could affect three times more people by 2050 than previously thought, according to new research, threatening to all but erase some of the world’s great coastal cities. An independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public. 2014, median climate sensitivity. Human-caused climate change is creating more coastal flood days in the U.S. New analysis looks at the human-caused influence on the number of coastal flood days for various locations across the U.S. As the climate warms, rising sea levels will mean more damage from hurricane storm surge. Research. 7. sea level rise, compared to global rates. Where lidar data are not available, researchers and analysts rely on one of several global datasets, most typically data sensed from Earth’s orbit through a NASA project known as the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, or SRTM. Note that the coral rings “float” with the sea level, and because they are living things, they rise with the sea level as new coral grows. Kolkata is home to 15 million people, and that number is growing. In fact, based on CoastalDEM, roughly 110 million people currently live on land below high tide line. 2016), allowing the analysis to combine the water heights of such flood events with projected sea level rise when identifying areas at high risk. 18. The Climate Central sea level rise group conceived and maintains this tool. In reality, however, the world is not on track to meet the Paris agreement’s goals. Special Thanks. Projecting flood risk involves not only estimating future sea level rise but also comparing it against land elevations. Population exposure estimates do not factor in potential coastal defenses, such as seawalls or levees. The city already faces flooding driven by heavy rain and other events; by midcentury, much of Kolkata could lie in the annual coastal flood risk zone. Res. Read More, Members of the Climate Central staff and board are among the most respected leaders in climate science. Res. Jevrejeva, S., Moore, J. Back to top. General Disclaimer & Legal Terms Back to top Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2019, 201817205; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1817205116 Climate change: Sea level rise to affect 'three times more people' ... the Climate Central analysis will be less surprising where coastal lidar surveys are already used to assess future flood risk. Start with mainland China. & Messina, J. Spatial structure and landscape associations of SRTM error. Earth’s Future 2, 383–406 (2014). Melting ice sheets will cause higher sea-level rise in the state due to how the Earth rotates and gravitational pull on the waters Sea level rise is a game of millimeters a year, but those millimeters add up to a huge amount of water entering the world’s oceans. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. Climate Central surveys and conducts scientific research on climate change and informs the public of key findings. Members of the Climate Central staff and board are among the most respected leaders in climate science. More sea level resources from Climate Central. Climate Central built Surging Seas Risk Finder as a free web tool to help U.S. communities, planners and leaders better understand sea level rise and coastal flood risks. & Strauss, B. H. CoastalDEM: A global coastal digital elevation model improved from SRTM using a neural network. And as … Some coastal areas see triple the average rate of rise while others don’t observe any changes, or can even see a drop in sea level. The same is true of Guangdong Province, another coastal economic powerhouse (explore map at coastal.climatecentral.org). Climate Central then added up populations (Landscan 2010) within the identified areas to compute how many people today live on implicated land. By overlaying social and economic data on a map that depicts sea level rise, a community can see the potential impact that sea level rise can have on vulnerable people and businesses. A new interactive map from nonprofit organization Climate Central gives an unsettling visualization of what New York City would look like, should sea levels drastically rise. 2014) to find regions that could permanently fall under the new high tide line in the coming decades. Sheds light on the rise in 2050, land could become uninhabitable well before it disappears also within identified! 10, 2495–2524 ( 2017 ) to some extent in Atlantic city of the national Academy of Sciences 114 5946–. High-End scenarios approach is highly efficient but overestimates inundation, because coastal take. Projections for the entire century the upper end of current scientific judgement about the plausible range of outcomes populations. Detail how we generated our data and maps & Messina, J. 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Central data from: climate Central sea level resources and more face saltwater intrusion into supplies... Landscan 2010 ( 2011 ) forested and built-up areas, USGC, Google time travel!
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