Report: Climate Change Will Bring Historic, Dangerous Sea Level Rise in Coastal US

Feb 18, 2022

Projected Sea Level Rise by 2050

Coastal US extra-juicesea levels will rise an average of a foot or more in the next 30 years, a new federal report warns. That's the fastest pace in 3,000 years.    

The report predicts: 

  • Damaging floods will hit coastal areas 10 times as often. Floods will even happen on sunny days.
  • Entire communities will become unlivable. And at least 140,000 homes will be flooded an average of every two weeks. 
  • Flooding will cause major supply chain delays and take a heavy toll on the economy.
  • Saltwater could endanger drinking water for millions of people in low-lying areas.   

The 131.6 million people in the US who live within 60 miles of the ocean will face the worst effects from rising seas. That's according to the report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But sea level rise will vary widely: 14-18 inches along the Gulf Coast, 10-14 inches on the East Coast, 6-8 inches on the Southwest coast, and 4-6 inches on the Northwest coast. 

The report blames human-caused climate change. That's mostly due to emissions caused by burning fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the report calls the predicted sea level rise inevitable. That means drastically lowering emissions won't stop it by 2050.    

But, the report says, curbing emissions would greatly reduce sea level rise from 2050 to 2100. Without that, sea levels could increase another 5 feet by century’s end. That would bring disastrous results.

Based on information both in the article and in "High End Projection" map on the infographic, which US coast is projected to have the greatest rise in sea level by 2050? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. the Gulf Coast
b. the East Coast
c. the Southwest Coast
d. the Northwest Coast
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