Researchers are estimating that 13.1 million people could be displaced by rising waters and would end up relocating to cities like Atlanta. A new University of Georgia study is attempting to model the destination of potentially displaced populations from coastal communities.
“We typically think about sea level rise as a coastal issue, but if people are forced to move because their houses become inundated, the migration could affect many landlocked communities as well,” said the study’s lead author, Mathew Hauer, in a press release.
The study combines estimates of populations at risk from sea-level rise within a migration systems simulation to estimate the number and destinations of potential sea-level rise migrations over the next 100 years.
This is the first study of its kind to look at where displaced populations would go and migration patters. However, Hauer notes, many of the cities seen as possible destinations already have difficulties with water management or growth management. Preferably, cities would begin incorporating accommodation strategies into their long-term planning to help meet future challenges.
According to a Zillow analysis, nearly 2 million U.S. homes would be lost if the oceans rise by six feet by the year 2100 as scientists are currently estimating. Across the country, 36 coastal cities would be entirely underwater and nearly 300 cities would lose at least half of their homes.