TAMPA (CBS Tampa) — A new study reveals that rising seas will displace tens of millions of Americans if global warming is left unchecked through 2100.
According to Reuters, between 20 to 31 million people are currently living on land that would be submerged by rising oceans if there are no aggressive cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.
“Some of this could happen as early as next century,” lead author Benjamin Strauss told AFP.
The seas could rise by more than 14 feet if ice sheets in Antarctica and other regions melt due to an increase in global temperatures. The dramatic rise in sea levels could occur if global average temperatures rise by 5.9 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the study.
“I would avoid buying property in South Florida in particular,” Strauss told Reuters.
Strauss added that other states that will be the most affected are California, Louisiana and New York.
“New Orleans is a really sad story,” Strauss told phys.org, mentioning that the city is already sinking. “It is a lot worse looking than Miami.”
The study warns that New York City could be unlivable by the year 2085 if nothing is done about global warming.
“We were really trying to show what the consequences of our carbon choices are going to be,” Strauss said.
In July, NASA’s former climate chief James Hansen told CBS News that coastal cities could “become dysfunctional” if sea levels rise.
“This is the biggest threat the planet faces,” Hansen said. “If we get sea level rise of several meters, all coastal cities become dysfunctional. The implications of this are just incalculable.”
Major American cities that could be affected are New York City, Boston, Miami, and Seattle.