Disappearing cities on US coasts

Ohenhen, Leonard O., Shirzaei, Manoochehr, Ojha, Chandrakanta, Sherpa, Sonam F. and Nicholls, Robert J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109 (2024) Disappearing cities on US coasts. Nature, 627 (8002). pp. 108-115. ISSN 0028-0836

[thumbnail of s41586-024-07038-3]
PDF (s41586-024-07038-3) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (16MB) | Preview


The sea level along the US coastlines is projected to rise by 0.25–0.3 m by 2050, increasing the probability of more destructive flooding and inundation in major cities1,2,3. However, these impacts may be exacerbated by coastal subsidence—the sinking of coastal land areas4—a factor that is often underrepresented in coastal-management policies and long-term urban planning2,5. In this study, we combine high-resolution vertical land motion (that is, raising or lowering of land) and elevation datasets with projections of sea-level rise to quantify the potential inundated areas in 32 major US coastal cities. Here we show that, even when considering the current coastal-defence structures, further land area of between 1,006 and 1,389 km2 is threatened by relative sea-level rise by 2050, posing a threat to a population of 55,000–273,000 people and 31,000–171,000 properties. Our analysis shows that not accounting for spatially variable land subsidence within the cities may lead to inaccurate projections of expected exposure. These potential consequences show the scale of the adaptation challenge, which is not appreciated in most US coastal cities.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: L.O.O. is supported by a U.S. Geological Survey grant. M.S. is supported by U.S. Geological Survey and National Science Foundation grants.
Uncontrolled Keywords: general,sdg 14 - life below water ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1000
UEA Research Groups: University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2024 12:30
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2024 14:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94647
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-024-07038-3

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item