Sea level rise and climate change: impact on the economy and migration

Update to the Sea level rise and climate change bibliography; these articles have been added to the Science Primary Literature database

Feature articles:

*Robinson, C., Dilkina, B., & Moreno-Cruz, J. (2020). Modeling migration patterns in the USA under sea level rise. PLoS One, 15(1), e0227436. [PDF] [Cited by]

“Climate change is already affecting millions of people around the world. Human migration is a natural response to these climate change pressures, and is one of many adaptation measures that people will take in response to climate change.

Sea level rise in the United States will lead to large scale migration in the future. We propose a framework to examine future climate migration patterns using models of human migration. Our framework requires that we distinguish between historical versus climate driven migration and recognizes how the impacts of climate change can extend beyond the affected area. We apply our framework to simulate how migration, driven by sea level rise, differs from baseline migration patterns. Specifically, we couple a sea level rise model with a data-driven model of human migration and future population projections, creating a generalized joint model of climate driven migration that can be used to simulate population distributions under potential future sea level rise scenarios. The results of our case study suggest that the effects of sea level rise are pervasive, expanding beyond coastal areas via increased migration, and disproportionately affecting some areas of the United States.”

*Yin, J., Griffies, S. M., Winton, M., Zhao, M., & Zanna, L. (2020). Response of storm-related extreme sea level along the U.S. Atlantic coast to combined weather and climate forcing. Journal of Climate, 33(9), 3745-3769. [PDF]

Storm surge and coastal flooding caused by tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and extratropical cyclones (nor’easters) pose a threat to communities along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Climate change and sea level rise are altering the statistics of these extreme events in a rather complex fashion. Here we use a fully coupled global weather/climate modeling system (GFDL CM4) to study characteristics of extreme daily sea level (ESL) along the U.S. Atlantic coast and their response to global warming. We find that under natural weather processes, the Gulf of Mexico coast is most vulnerable to storm surge and related ESL. New Orleans is a striking hotspot with the highest surge efficiency in response to storm winds. Under a 1% per year atmospheric CO2 increase on centennial time scales, the anthropogenic signal in ESL is robust along the U.S. East Coast. It can emerge from the background variability as soon as in 20 years, or even before global sea level rise is taken into account. The regional dynamic sea level rise induced by the weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation facilitates this early emergence, especially during wintertime coastal flooding associated with nor’easters. Along the Gulf Coast, ESL is sensitive to the modification of hurricane characteristics under the CO2 forcing.”

Questions? Please let me know (engelk@grinnell.edu).

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