Climate change could put 3.7 million Americans at risk of flooding thanks to rising sea levels, according to two new studies due to be published today. To arrive at this figure, the researchers looked at the number of homes that lie within 90 centimetres of high tide, unlike most previous studies which have looked only at elevation above sea level. The researchers found that Florida, Louisiana, and New York are the states that have the most to lose from rising water levels, with 312,000 people at risk in Florida’s Miami-Dade and Broward counties, 284,000 people at risk in New Orleans and 141,000 people living in homes at risk of flooding in New York City.
The studies, which are due to be published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, were led by Ben Strauss, a scientist with research group Climate Central. According to Strauss, sea level has already gone up about 20 cm since 1880, due to the fact that warmer water expands. The think-tank has also prepared an interactive, searchable map which “shows threats from sea level rise and storm surge to all 3000+ coastal towns, cities, counties and states in the Lower 48.”