The perilous rise of our seas is pushing tides, waves and storms further inland from our shores – so much so, that in the coming century, scientists predict enormous swathes of land will be regularly inundated by water.
By 2100, if we have failed to put up defences and do nothing to curb our global emissions, new research has found coastal flooding could increase by nearly 50 percent.
“We are attempting to understand the magnitude of the global scale impacts of future coastal flooding,” engineer Ian Young, from the University of Melbourne in Australia, told CNBC.
“Globally, we need to understand that changes of this nature will occur by 2100 and we need to plan how we are going to respond.”
With 600 million people living on coastlines less than 10 metres (32 ft) above sea level, even a steady rise in sea levels means leaving whole populations, homes, and infrastructure to the whims of the sea.
Under the worst-case scenario examined in the study, some 287 million people – 4 percent of the world’s population – could be impacted by coastal flooding.
For those more inclined to think in dollars, this scenario threatens coastal assets worth roughly US$14 trillion, or 20 percent of the global GDP.
Interestingly enough, most of that is from tide and storm events, which are creeping further inland and…