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Interactive map of sea level rise

Interactive map of sea level rise

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We always hear about island nations suffering from sea level rise. But the risks are real in the United States as well. A new project maps those risks.

Yesterday, the New York Times published an in depth look at sea level rise in the United States. The story is a collaboration with Climate Central, a nonprofit news organization who collected and mapped sea level data for areas all over the country. Their interactive map is here.

The New York Times wrote:

The project on sea level rise led by Dr. Strauss for the nonprofit organization Climate Central appears to be the most elaborate effort in decades to estimate the proportion of the national population at risk from the rising sea. The papers are scheduled for publication on Wednesday by the journal Environmental Research Letters. The work is based on the 2010 census and on improved estimates, compiled by federal agencies, of the land elevation near coastlines and of tidal levels throughout the country.

Users can look up their zipcodes on the map to see what their risks are. Many places have a one in six chance of experiencing a foot of sea level rise by 2020. That might not seem like a lot, but even a few inches of rise can erode the soil and cause big problems. And there are 3.7 million people in the lower 48 states living within one meter of the coast. That’s over one percent of the nation’s population.

Some places are doing things to prepare. New York City has raised their pumps at sewage stations so that they don’t get inundated with the rising water. But most places haven’t really done much.

Via The New York Times and Climate Central

Image Credit: Flickr, go_greener_oz

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Rose Eveleth

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Rose Eveleth is a freelance writer, producer and designer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, OnEarth, Discover, New York Times, Story Collider and Radiolab. She holds degrees from the University of California, San Diego and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure