Resiliency and retreat are the mantras for coastal communities coping with sea level rise flooding. Resiliency is improving infrastructure to allow people to remain in coastal areas. Among the options are raising sea walls, roads and other critical infrastructure and installing pumps to move floodwaters off valuable real estate. Retreat is moving people away from areas that flood when it’s too expensive or impossible to defend the land.
Researchers at the University of Southern California’s School of Engineering used artificial intelligence to predict where coastal residents are likely to migrate when sea level rise forces them inland. Their report might surprise you.
The study, led by USC Computer Science Assistant Professor Bustra Dilkina found that sea level rise flooding could force 13 million people in the US alone to move inland by 2100. The inland cities that take them will face increased competition for jobs, higher housing prices and greater demands on essential public services, including roads, schools, law enforcement and water and sewer services.
“Sea level rise will affect every county in the US, including inland areas,” Professor Dilkina fold USC Viterbi. “We hope this research will empower urban planners and local decision-makers to prepare to accept populations displaced by sea level rise. Our findings indicate that everybody should care about sea level rise, whether they live on the coast or not. This is a global impact issue.”
The study identified which cities and regions are likely to fact the largest influx of sea level rise refugees. The list includes Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas. Smaller midwest cities could also face a spike in population from people moving away from the coasts.