Migration from sea-level rise could reshape cities inland

April 17, 2017 by Alan Flurry, University of Georgia
Mathew Hauer is a demographer at the University of Georgia. Credit: UGA

When Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005, cities inland saw an influx of evacuees escaping the storm and its aftermath. Now, a new University of Georgia study predicts that this could happen again as a result of sea-level rise.

In a paper published today in Nature Climate Change, researchers estimate that approximately 13.1 million people could be displaced by rising ocean waters, with Atlanta, Houston and Phoenix as top destinations for those forced to relocate.

The study is the first attempt to model the of millions of potentially displaced migrants from heavily populated coastal communities.

"We typically think about as a coastal issue, but if people are forced to move because their houses become inundated, the migration could affect many landlocked communities as well," said the study's lead author, Mathew Hauer, who completed his doctoral degree in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of geography.

While assessments are numerous and may help plan for the development of critical infrastructure, few research studies have grappled with where displaced people and families will go. No previous studies model how migration caused by sea-level rise will affect population other than in the directly affected coastal areas.

Relationships between environmental stressors and migration are highly complex, as responses range from short-term, temporary migration to permanent, long-distance . Sea-level rise is a unique environmental stressor because it permanently converts habitable land to uninhabitable water.

The new study combines estimates of populations at risk from sea-level rise within a migrations systems simulation to estimate both the number and destinations of potential sea-level rise migrations in the U.S. over the coming century.

"Some of the anticipated landlocked destinations, such as Las Vegas, Atlanta and Riverside, California, already struggle with water management or growth management challenges," Hauer said. "Incorporating accommodation strategies in strategic long-range planning could help alleviate the potential future intensification of these challenges."

Explore further: Study will help policymakers plan for sea level rise

More information: Mathew E. Hauer, Migration induced by sea-level rise could reshape the US population landscape, Nature Climate Change (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3271

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1 / 5 (4) Apr 17, 2017
I think journalists have gotten used to cloaking fake news in words like perhaps, could, possibly etc, so they are speculating instead of presenting facts. Journalists feel that makes their brand of fake news alright.
The title of this article is a example.
"Migration from sea-level rise could reshape cities inland" - Of course it COULD, anything is possible.
What is wrong with saying
"Migration from sea-level rise will reshape cities inland"! - This is NEWS!
not rated yet Apr 22, 2017
Yes, and the title should add that 100+ million climate impact refugees per year will later this century be on the move to other countries. Add those too to the saver inland areas. Unmitigated overpopulation will steadily increase the insanity.
not rated yet Apr 22, 2017
Unmitigated overpopulation will steadily increase the insanity.

Overpopulation will soon be under control. As will the cause of climate change. But the climate change itself will not so easily be quickly reversed.

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