New research using satellite positioning more accurately determines the elevation of numerous coastal cities — and as a result, previous estimates of the impacts of sea-level rise were far too optimistic and 150 million people are living in areas that will be below the high-tide line by 2050. This assessment of the impacts on coastal cities is based on today’s population numbers, not counting future population growth or land lost to subsidence or coastal erosion so the actual numbers of people who will be displaced by sea-level rise globally will likely be even higher.
Why This Matters: Too optimistic may be an understatement. We must begin to adapt right now. And physical barriers to sea-level rise can only go so far, particularly when they are based on “overly optimistic” estimates of how much and where the impacts of rising seas will be greatest.
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