13.1 million U.S. coastal residents could face flooding because of rising sea levels

As many as 13.1 million people living along U.S. coastlines could face flooding by the end of the century because of rising sea levels, according to a new study that warns that large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate to higher ground.

The estimated number of coastal dwellers affected by rising sea level is three times higher than previously projected, according to the study published Monday in the science journal Nature Climate Change. As many as 1 million California residents could be affected. If protective measures are not implemented, the study says, large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate in a migration mirroring the scale of the Great Migration of African Americans from Southern states during the 20th century. “We’ve been underestimating what those potential impacts could be,” said Mathew Hauer, one of the coauthors of the study.

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