A U.S. government report warns that sea levels along America’s coasts will rise about an average of 30.5 centimeters over the next 30 years, about equal to water level increases recorded in the past 100 years.
The report released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and six other federal agencies predicted the Gulf Coast, especially Texas and Louisiana, will get hit hardest. The Atlantic coast will also see higher than average sea level rise, while it will be less on the Pacific coast, the report said.
Scientists say the higher sea levels are the result of climate change and will spark more coastal floods on sunny days when it isn’t storming.
The study’s lead author, William Sweet, an oceanographer for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said the worst of the long-term effects of the sea level increases from melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland probably won’t begin to be felt until after 2100.
U.S. cities such as Annapolis, Maryland; Miami Beach, Florida; and Norfolk, Virginia, already get a few minor floods a year during high tides, but the researchers said that by 2050, those will be replaced by several “moderate” yearly floods that cause property damage.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.