New Analysis Shows Global Exposure to Sea Level Rise

Research Report by Climate Central

Every global shore touches the same ocean, and the ocean is rising.

Climate Central just completed a novel analysis of worldwide exposure to sea level rise and coastal flooding. We found that 147 to 216 million people live on land that will be below sea level or regular flood levels by the end of the century, assuming emissions of heat-trapping gases continue on their current trend. By far the largest group — 41 to 63 million — lives in China. The ranges depend on the ultimate sensitivity of sea level to warming.

But even these figures may be two to three times too low, meaning as many as 650 million people may be threatened.

People living on land that will be below sea level or chronic flood levels by the end of the century, assuming current emissions trends continue, and medium sensitivity of sea level to warming. Some countries, such as the Netherlands, have levees that may provide protection. For the list ranked by percent exposure, we considered only countries with total populations over 1 million.

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