Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Coastal Flooding Could Threaten Millions and Cost Trillions by 2100, New Study Finds

Climate
Coastal Flooding Could Threaten Millions and Cost Trillions by 2100, New Study Finds
The last house to endure rising sea levels on Holland Island in the Chesapeake Bay off the coast of Maryland on May 23, 2010. The house collapsed in October 2010. baldeaglebluff / Flickr

The climate crisis may usher in a new level of global economic catastrophe and human suffering as extreme weather worsens and coastal flooding intensifies. A new study found that extreme weather will make coastal areas dangerous places to live as more intense storms crash into coast lines and increasingly high tides encroach inland, as The New York Times reported.


"We are attempting to understand the magnitude of the global scale impacts of future coastal flooding," Ian Young, a professor at the University of Melbourne and an author of the study, told CNBC.

"Globally we need to understand that changes of this nature will occur by 2100 and we need to plan how we are going to respond," he said.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, found that the economic damage from those storms and from periodic flooding may cost over $14 trillion and threaten 20 percent of global gross domestic product, according to CNN.

"This is on a 'business as usual' CO2 emissions scenario," said Ebru Kirezci from the University of Melbourne, who led the study, as CNN reported. "Business as usual" assumes a rise in average global temperatures at the upper end of predictions, if global emissions are allowed to continue on their current course.

The study pinpointed exact hotspots around the world most vulnerable to coastal flooding, as well as the potential economic impact on infrastructure and activity in those areas. As Fortune noted, the study also maps out in great detail the impact of episodic flooding caused by strengthening storm events and tides. Those events are predicted to be more damaging than the threat of slowly rising seas and will cause roughly 69 percent of coastal flooding by 2100.

Some of the regions that are particularly at risk, according to the study, are the following:

  • The coasts of Northwest Europe, including Southeast England
  • The East Coast of the U.S., particularly the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland
  • India, particularly around the Bay of Bengal

The study was a collaboration between researchers from the University of Melbourne, IHE Delt in the Netherlands, the University of Amsterdam, the University of East Anglia in the UK, and Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, as Fortune reported.

The authors also predict that the global population exposed to coastal flooding could be up to 287 million by 2100, which is 4.1 percent of the world's population, as USA TODAY reported.

"What the data and our model is saying is that compared with now, what we see as a 1-in-100-year extreme flood event will be 10 times more frequent because of climate change," Kirezci said.

If the world's nations keep emitting greenhouse gases, and sea levels rise just 1 to 2 more feet, the amount of coastal land at risk of flooding would increase by roughly one-third, the research said.

"Even though average sea levels rise relatively slowly, we found that these other flooding risks like high tides, storm surge and breaking waves will become much more frequent and more intense," said Kirezci, as The New York Times reported. "Those are important to consider."

The study seems to add to the mounting evidence that the world's nations can greatly reduce future flooding risks by cutting emissions rapidly, especially since that could lower the odds of rapid ice-sheet collapse in Antarctica that would push up ocean levels even higher than forecast later in the century, as The New York Times reported.

However, Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University who was not involved in the study, told The New York Times that the world has now warmed so much that significant sea-level rise by 2050 is assured no matter what happens with emissions. "That means we also need to start preparing to adapt now," he said.

The Trump administration has weakened fuel-efficiency requirements for the nation's cars and trucks. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

As the days tick down to next month's presidential election, debate rages over the U.S. government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with critics of President Donald Trump calling for his ouster due to his failure to protect the American public.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Researchers have discovered a link between air pollution, food delivery and plastic waste. Sorapop / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a link between air pollution, food delivery and plastic waste.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
One report in spring 2020 found that 38% of students at four-year universities were food-insecure. Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

By Matthew J. Landry and Heather Eicher-Miller

When university presidents were surveyed in spring of 2020 about what they felt were the most pressing concerns of COVID-19, college students going hungry didn't rank very high.

Read More Show Less
Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch