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Report Predicts Widespread Flooding in Major Cities
November 23, 2014

Sea levels have been rising at various rates for some time now, part of the natural cycle of the planet. A new report, however, raises the alarm for dozens of large cities that could be adversely affected in the next few decades.

The report, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, forecasts large amounts of tidal flooding for nearly two dozen East Coast and Gulf Coast cities by 2045. Among those cities are Washington, D.C.; Atlantic City, N.J.; Miami; Philadelphia; Annapolis, Md.; and several other high-profile, high-population centers. Highest on the list was Annapolis, with projections of at least 180 floods each year by 2030. (The current number is just over 50.) Topping the list for 2045 was Washington, with nearly 400 projected floods a year. Lowest on the list was Portland, Maine, with nearly 70 projected floods a year.

Scientists issued these projections in part based on data from a recent National Climate Assessment. Among the projections are a rise in sea levels of 5 inches by 2030 and nearly 12 inches by 2045. The locations totaled 52 in all. Portland, Maine, was the northernmost location; the southernmost location was Freeport, Texas.

Earlier this year, twin high-profile papers based on data from a 2012 study by Climate Central, an independent organization of scentists, predicted that a 10-foot rise in sea levels would result in a loss in America of 28,000 square miles of land, home to more than 12 million people. That land wasn't confined to the East Coast and the Gulf Coast but included the West Coast as well. In New York alone, 700,000 people were projected to live on land that would be below the tide line created by a 10-foot sea level rise. Other coastal cities that would be hit hard include Boston; Miami; New Orleans; Stockton, Calif.; and Norfolk, Va.

Elsewhere around the world, cities with hugh populations that would be under threat from a higher sea level include Amsterdam; Cape Town, South Africa; London; Mumbai; Shanghai; Sydney; and Tokyo.

Sea levels have risen globally by 8 inches since 1880, according to several estimates, which also report an increase in the rate of that sea level rise.

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