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Rising sea levels will cost Seattle $23B by 2040, study finds

Washington coast (KOMO News)
Washington coast (KOMO News)
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Climate change is happening. Scientists have known it for years, and as much as 73 percent of the American population is in agreement. Across the country and around the world, extreme weather events seem to be increasing in frequency.

Seattlites likely remember February's massive snowstorms – unusual occurrences for the Pacific Northwest. According to climatologists, the most extreme precipitation events have been stronger than ever, something likely influenced by the warming of the atmosphere.

One of the most talked-about aspects of climate change is the change in sea level. As the planet heats up, ice caps and glaciers melt, adding to the total volume of the ocean. Additionally, the water itself expands with said warming. As a result, there are places around the world facing a very real danger of being washed away.

With 23 coastal states in the United States, the Center for Climate Integrity conducted a study to estimate how much those seaside locales will end up paying to deal with rising sea levels by the year 2040.

Done in partnership with engineering firm Resilient Analytics and mapping specialists from the University of Colorado, the study produced estimated costs of constructing seawalls to deal with the changes. The group used a sea level rise model, storm surge estimates and NOAA's medium resolution shoreline data set to generate the numbers.

While we aren't number one, Washington comes in high nevertheless – our costs are projected to hit over $23 billion by 2040, coming in at seventh. The rest of the rankings are below.

21. New Hampshire

Projected costs: $1,032,541,000

18. Connecticut

Projected costs: $5,339,664,000

17. Alabama

Projected costs: $5,997,821,000

16. Oregon

Projected costs: $7,550,580,000

15. Delaware

Projected costs: $9,415,208,000

14. Maine

Projected costs: $10,897,440,000

13. Georgia

Projected costs: $15,060,564,000

12. New York

Projected costs: $17,388,527,000

11. Massachusetts

Projected costs: $18,731,965,000

10. Texas

Projected costs: $19,279,011,000

9. South Carolina

Projected costs: $20,061,030,000

8. California

Projected costs: $21,999,799,000

7. Washington

Projected costs: $23,892,865,000

6. New Jersey

Projected costs: $24,985,408,000

5. Maryland

Projected costs: $27,414,762,000

4. Virginia

Projected costs: $31,207,175,000

3. North Carolina

Projected costs: $34,838,128,000

2. Louisiana

Projected costs: $38,431,868,000

1. Florida

Projected costs: $75,898,048,000

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This story first appeared on the Seattle PI

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