Rising sea levels are causing more frequent flooding in coastal areas in the U.S., scientists said in a new report released Wednesday, with the number of high-tide floods set to triple in coastal communities from Texas to Maine by 2030.
Many East Coast cities and towns already see dozens of tidal floods each year even in the absence of storms, covering coastal roads and damaging homes, said the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Researchers found that more than half of the 52 communities studied in the report will average more than two dozen tidal floods per year by 2030, and one-third will see tidal flooding more than 180 times a year by 2045 due to sea level rises induced by global warming.
Cities including Miami, Washington, DC, Atlantic City and Charleston will see a dramatic increase in the number of flooding events. Moreover, floods will get worse and cause more damage further and further inland as sea levels continue to rise, according to the report.
Global sea levels rose eight inches from 1880 to 2009 as global warming accelerated the melting of land-based ice and expanded seawater as it heated up.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found earlier this year that flooding has increased on all three U.S. coasts by between 300% and 925% since the 1960s, USA Today reports.
Around 100 million people, or nearly one-third of the U.S. population, live in coastal counties, said Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist at UCS.
“Several decades ago, flooding at high tide was simply not a problem,” said Fitzpatrick. “Today, when the tide is extra high, people find themselves splashing through downtown Miami, Norfolk and Annapolis on sunny days and dealing with flooded roads in Atlantic City, Savannah and the coast of New Hampshire.”