US braced for 1ft rise in sea level by 2050

Coastal areas in America will see the equivalent increase in sea level over the next three decades as experienced in the preceding century.

The Sea Level Rise Technical Report, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has updated information designed to support decision-making relating to rising sea levels. Produced in conjunction with around six other federal agencies, it paints a worrying picture for many parts of the country between now and 2050. 

body of water near city buildings under white clouds and blue sky during daytime

Crucially, new estimates – which replace those set out in the federal government’s 2017 sea level rise predictions – suggest the US could see tidal waters making landfall around 10-12 inches above the point they currently do. This is mainly due to changes in the height of land itself, partly caused by erosion, and is the equivalent to the total seal level rise that occurred in the past 100 years. 

According to the report, coastal flooding is likely to increase significantly, irrespective of the prevalence of storms and heavy rainfall. Data is based on a combination of tide gauge, satellite observations, and  models that contributed to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

‘For businesses along the coast, knowing what to expect and how to plan for the future is critical,’ said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. ‘These updated projections will help businesses, and the communities they support, understand risks and make smart investments in the years ahead.’

‘This new data on sea rise is the latest reconfirmation that our climate crisis — as the President has said — is blinking ‘code red’,’ said Gina McCarthy, US National Climate Advisor. ‘We must redouble our efforts to cut the greenhouse gases that cause climate change while, at the same time, help our coastal communities become more resilient in the face of rising seas.’

In related news, the IPCC issued a warning in 2020 that the world as a whole was on track for a ‘worst case scenario’ sea level rise.

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