Of course, no scientist can accurately predict the exact amount that the oceans will rise in the next 25, 50, or 100 years. But, using data from the U.S. Geologic Survey, scientists have calculated a mid-range projection of a 19-inch increase in sea levels by 2050. A couple of feet of extra water might not sound like much, but areas that suffer from frequent storms will also suffer a greater impact than relatively calm parts of the shoreline. Of course, property losses will be greatest in the most populated and developed parts of the coastline.
In New York City, Manhattan has a steeper coastline than Brooklyn and Queens. The New York City Panel on Climate Change expects these latter two boroughs to suffer the most loss along the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Overall, New York City might lose $2 billion in property damage every year by 2050.
Miami and surrounding areas might be one of the places in the country with the most to lose. Many scientists fear that this major metropolitan area will turn into Atlantis by the end of the century. South Florida is very flat and sits upon limestone. This limestone base has been described as a sort of “Swiss cheese” that lets water seep in from underneath, so conventional seawalls don’t work.
Parts of the National Mall, three military bases, and $7 billion dollars’ worth of property are expected to be lost because of flooding in the nation’s capital. In areas surrounding DC, hundreds of thousands of people in Virginia and billions of dollars’ worth of property in Maryland are also vulnerable.
Beach tourism provides one big draw to LA. Of course, LA will still have a beach, but it’s expected to be a few feet further in, meaning that coastal property is at risk. Some other threatened infrastructure along the coast include the Port of LA, wastewater treatment plants, and power plants.
Sadly, the Big Easy and lots of other Louisiana coastline might be losing its battle with the ocean more than any other place on the globe. The problem is that Southeast Louisiana has an average elevation of just about three feet and sits upon the Mississippi Delta, ground that is also sinking as the sea levels rise.