Climate change’s impacts on coastal cities could be heightened as those cities sink: Study

Sea level rise caused by the changing climate is expected to wreak havoc on the nation’s coastal cities, impacts that could be heightened in the years ahead as the cities themselves are sinking, according to a study published this week.

The research, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, found that coastal land areas are sinking.

They’re doing so because of both natural and man-made processes, including pumping fluid out of the ground, said Leonard Ohenhen, an author of the study.

The study looked at 32 coastal cities across the U.S., including New York and Boston on the East Coast, New Orleans on the Gulf Coast and San Francisco on the West Coast — though it said the West Coast had relatively modest risks compared to the other coasts.

On the Atlantic Coast, the study said Miami could face the greatest risk.

It estimates that overall, without preventative measures, there could be threats to between 55,000 and 273,000 people and between 31,000 and 171,000 properties.

Asked what exactly these threats are, study author Manoochehr Shirzaei said they mean that the properties “will permanently be flooded” and people will be displaced.

However, Ohenhen noted that at least some of the flood risk may be able to be mitigated through interventions such as raising buildings, building levees and injecting groundwater into the ground.

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