Savannah and Jacksonville are among the east coast cities most vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change, a study finds. Savannah, Georgia's main seaport, with storm surges, hurricanes, and waves on top: what will that look like?
Suzanne Goldenberg wrote for the Guardian today, US coastal cities in danger as sea levels rise faster than expected, study warns: Satellite measurements show flooding from storms like Sandy will put low-lying population centres at risk sooner than projected,
A study published last March by Climate Central found sea-level rise due to global warming had already doubled the risk of extreme flood events — so-called once in a century floods — for dozens of locations up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
It singled out the California cities of Los Angeles and San Diego on the Pacific coast and Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, on the Atlantic, as the most vulnerable to historic flooding due to sea-level rise.
Sandy, which produced a 9ft storm surge at Battery Park in New York City, produced one example of the dangerous combination of storm surges and rising sea level. In New York, each additional foot of water puts up to 100,000 additional people at risk, according to a map published with the study.
That study projected 6 inches rise at Fort Pulaski by 2030 (minimum 3 inches) and 13 inches by 2050 (maximum 24 inches). But projections have gotten worse since then:
The latest research, published on Wednesday in Environmental Research Letters, found global sea-levels rising at a rate of 3.2mm a year, compared to the best estimates by the IPCC of 2mm a year, or 60% faster.
So that would be more like 9 inches by 2030 and 20 inches by 2050.
Add to a higher base sea level bigger storms like Hurricane Sandy, and Savannah and Jacksonville have a problem. Sure, Savannah is