Local weather Adaptation: Transferring to Increased Floor in Your Area to Keep away from Sea Degree Rise

Wherever you live, climate change will change your life for decades to come. It’s getting hotter, drier and homes near the coast are at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels. If, despite the risks, you’re not ready to stay in your coastal home, it’s time to move to your area – and learn about the factors that should influence your choice of location.

Coastlines around the world are threatened by flooding, erosion, and saltwater ingress into wells and municipal water supplies. In the United States, the Southeast and Northeast are most vulnerable to hurricane and storm surge flooding, and to the loss of freshwater supplies as sea levels rise. In the west, coastal erosion, including the loss of cliff houses over Pacific beaches, and water supply issues are top concerns for homeowners who live near the ocean.

Instead of putting down roots and moving across the country, most of us considering moving will consider living further from the coast while avoiding other effects of climate change. Since there is nowhere we can completely avoid the effects of climate change, a change of residence should be combined with a change in your lifestyle to reduce your environmental impact.

When and where departure should be considered

Climate change results in longer and more severe hurricane seasons and extreme weather conditions that can contribute to flash floods that can lead to deaths and loss of property in remote cities. If you live in the storm-prone Southeast and Northeast within 4 to 20 feet of sea level, there are good reasons to consider moving now – not just the potential damage, but the inability to insure homes and personal belongings becomes the value from at. lower risk homes in these regions.

In 2107, Climate Central identified the 25 cities most at risk for major or “100 year” floods. The low-lying southeast is the most exposed area to flood risk, but note that New York City, where 245,000 people could be displaced by a large storm tidal wave, tops the list. Florida’s coastal cities have the largest population at 1.58 million who could face disaster due to hurricane storm surges and rising sea levels. Not only will these cities suffer, Climate Central also reports that low-income households will be hardest hit, as the risk of harm will increase by 300% by 2050.

Source: Climate Central, low-income households will be hardest hit, October 25, 2017.

Another problem these low-lying cities face is the lack of freshwater sources. When sea levels rise, the normal flow of groundwater to the ocean reverses, causing saltwater to contaminate aquifers and wells near the coast. Florida’s aquifers are particularly vulnerable to saltwater invasion because the state is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Still, the population is expected to grow by 25% over the next two decades. More people with access to less water are the recipe for conflict and will certainly affect the value of real estate.

The West is not immune to water problems either. As the drought continues and sea levels rise, the wells of lower-lying homes and public water supplies could become increasingly contaminated by salt water. And when sea levels rise, key coastal wetlands are threatened, which would change the local food supply as fish lose a critical habitat.

“If you wipe out an entire system, the effects will spread to predators and down to prey. It’s just amazing, ”said Glen MacDonald, UCLA Distinguished Professor of Geology, when describing a research he co-authored in 2018. Despite having a generally steeper coastline, the west faces several threats.

Another problem facing the Pacific coast is cliff erosion, which will threaten homes, highways, beaches, and wildlife. Just this week in Orange County, California, coastal commuter and Amtrack services were suspended due to erosion. While this may sound like a sheer inconvenience to deal with, the dire effects of erosion on the region are far-reaching and affect every Pacific nation.

“Many of these estimated coastal systems could reach ‘tipping points’,” wrote the US Geological Service in a 2021 research report on coastal erosion. These changes, “in which exposure to hazards significantly increases and threatens the form, function and viability of communities, infrastructures and ecosystems today”.

Climate change has arrived and it is time to examine your options on every coast of the United States

Where and why to move nearby

Family, friends, work and all the life patterns we know are strong reasons to stay in the regions we already live in. While there is talk of “climate paradises” these days, it is by no means certain that moving to these regions will improve life. So, for most of us, the best option is to stay close to home and choose higher ground that is as isolated as possible from other negative climatic impacts, including flash floods and increased fire risk.

Choose city life

If you have a spot on the beach today, consider moving to the central core of the closest town. All in all, city life is more efficient and avoids driving. Living in an apartment or condominium with easy, car-free access to services, groceries, restaurants and culture reduces your environmental impact. However, there are tradeoffs, such as the contribution of a growing city to the heat island effects, which can alter local weather patterns.

But city dwellers tend to live in smaller houses and their per capita environmental impact is actually lower than in suburban and rural communities. Apartment sizes in the most populous cities in the United States have started to shrink, although new homes are still growing in many growing cities, according to PropertyShark. Over the past 100 years homes have gotten smaller in New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Miami, but homes are getting bigger in southern, southern California, and booming cities like Seattle and Portland. Choosing an apartment or condominium instead of a single family home will reduce your environmental footprint.

Flash flood risks

Flash floods are also a growing problem for cities far inland, as recently demonstrated by the remnants of Hurricane Ida in Tennessee and the New York City area. Before moving, check for the address where you intend to live to identify the risk of rising water. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency also offers maps of locations at risk of flooding and flash floods.

The extreme rainfalls that occur more and more frequently in the age of climate change can turn a small stream or a dry channel into a torrent. Look around every location you consider to see if there is any evidence of an inactive watercourse. Is there a gully or canyon up the hill from the house? A sudden rainstorm or runoff in the spring could make these harmless geological features a threat to the home. For example, bone-dry Phoenix regularly experiences flash floods and 13% of homes in the area are at risk. Flash floods regularly present 20% of Los Angeles homes and 19% of Boise homes.

Avoid the Wildland Urban Interface

Finally, if you long for a move into the woods high uphill and inland, there is one more worry: wildfire. Over the past 30 years, more than 12.6 million homes have been built in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), largely forested areas where homes are more threatened by forest fires each year as climate change advances. These houses are often surrounded by trees and dry vegetation, which should be at least 100 meters from the house on each side, but are rare.

Map of the continental US with the number of homes in the WUI relative to the total number of homes in the stateNumber of homes in WUI relative to total number of homes in the state (%). Source: US Fire Department.

This means an increasing fire risk for 46 million households, 38% of the 120.7 million households in the US FEMA reports that more than 3,000 homes in the WUI are destroyed by fire every year. It’s not just a Western phenomenon – Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania make up the top 5 states after California that are at increased risk of fire because they build up on or near forests.

Climate change requires rethinking all assumptions about growth and where we live. These guidelines can help you evaluate your decisions, but your own priorities and values ​​will ultimately determine where and how you live. When you downsize your home, you reduce your energy consumption and with it your CO2 emissions. Living in a city or town with sturdy public transportation can also help mitigate your effects. But one thing is certain: Neither of us can escape climate change, so it is time to start planning for adaptation.

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