Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Go Green banner ads

Published on Friday, April 28, 2017

Where Will Climate Refugees Go As Sea Levels Rise?


Where Will Climate Refugees Go As Sea Levels Rise?

One of the ill effects of climate change is rising sea levels. With sea levels rising, coastal communities are at risk of floods that will make their homes uninhabitable. A study recently published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that society focuses too much on the people and places that will be displaced, but not enough time is spent figuring out where they will go.

Hurricane Katrina Example

What happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina can shed some light on how to better deal with climate refugees. After the devastating hurricane, 250,000 people emigrated from the Gulf Coast to Houston, Texas. But what the state government did not anticipate was that 100,000 of those emigrants would choose to stay.

With the large influx of people, Houston had difficulties with relocation services and absorbing the population. Because neither the citizens nor the government were prepared for the refugees, a negative attitude began to emerge. Even Dennis Bonnen, the 2014 Texas Representative, was tainted by the experience and went so far as using a slur when referring to the Cajun children that were victims of Hurricane Katrina. To prevent a negative attitude from emerging, like in Houston, it’s important for governments to plan ahead and have relocation services ready for climate refugees from coastal communities.

Predicting Where Climate Refugees Will Go

The study recently published in Nature Climate Change was conducted by Matther Hauer, a geographer from the University of Georgia. He has researched where people might flee from as a result of climate change and where they might go. This study is more expansive than Hauer’s previous study where he discovered that there are approximately 13 million Americans at risk of relocation from sea level rise. He found that most of these climate refugees would be from the south eastern part of the United States.

To conduct his research, Hauer has used sea level rise data and a migration modeling software. He works under the assumption that people will move in consistent ways and that wealthier individuals are more likely to stay where they are and adapt their infrastructure to the changing weather patterns.

According to Hauer’s research, climate refugees in coastal Georgia are more likely to migrate inland towards Atlanta as opposed to moving all the way to Los Angeles. He predicts that Florida will have as many as 2.5 million residents that will relocate. Texas might see a large influx of climate refugees of up to 1.5 million people. Atlanta, Georgia could also receive 250,000 additional residents.

Issues with Flooding and Relocation

Many states may be unprepared for a large influx of climate refugees. One of the biggest concerns is whether inland states have enough resources to take in more residents. Places such as Atlanta, GA, Phoenix, AZ, Riverside, CA, and Las Vegas, NV are struggling with water management. If climate refugees move to places with resource constraints then a toxic attitude and unhealthy environment could be the fate of relocated citizens.

Another issue with sea levels rising is that some citizens may be unable or unwilling to leave their homes. As a result people may be trapped in flood zones. For cities such as New York, people might move away to drier zones in the state, but they will still be in places that are prone to future floods due to sea levels rising. Counter to Hauer’s research, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes that low-income residents are more likely to stay in flooding areas. This is because they lack the funds and connections to relocate elsewhere.

We live in a time of uncertainty when it comes to climate change and how coastal regions will deal with relocation. But one thing is for certain: governments and communities need to come together to find solutions to help relocate citizens that live in areas affected by rising sea levels.

Rate this article:
Comments ()Number of views (288)

Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Research, Travel, Climate & Weather



Search Jobs


«May 2017»

EPA Being Sued After Reversal on Pesticide Ban It Helped Create

Flying in the face of evidence published by his very agency, new EPA head Scott Pruitt decides to reverse the ban on a dangerous pesticide. And activists are taking action. 

Read more

Red Panda Stopped Dead in Its Tracks by a Boulder

What's cuter than a red panda? How about a surprised red panda? Or what about a red panda that's surprised by a rock? This viral video goes to show few animals are cuter than these little guys.

Read more

Western Wildfires Made Worse By Climate Change

Another side effect of climate change has been discovered. Scientists find that global warming is contributing to even larger, more dangerous wildfires. And it's not getting any better. 

Read more

Woodpecker Takes a Joy Ride in a Cab in the Windy City

Watch this cute footage as a woodpecker takes a trip across Chicago and becomes friends with one of the city's cab drivers. A cheerful pick-me-up for anyone, city dweller or not. 

Read more

How to Turn California’s Gridlock into Green Energy

Traffic has always been a drain on the environment but now, with the help of some amazing new technology and science, it can actually be a consistent source of clean energy.

Read more

An Alarming Look At What the Earth Might Look Like If Sea Levels Keep Rising

This video provided by Business Insider Science and created from data from National Geographic shows what the earth would look like if all the land ice melted across the globe. Terrifying!

Read more

Plastic Eating Caterpillars Could Solve Our Trash Disposal Problem

This amazing little creature is a rare example of a lifeforms being able to digest plastic. It's belly might hold the answer to our growing pollution problem and change the world forever!

Read more

Could Edible Water Blobs Be the Answer to Wasteful Plastic Bottles?

Water bottles are some of the most common contributors to our planet's pollution problem and this spectacular, environmentally friendly invention may just be the future.

Read more

The U.S. Wind Industry Continues to Gain Momentum

The wind turbine industry is continuing to make waves in the energy production world according to a recent report. And even our current administration may have a hard time stopping it.

Read more

Top U.S. Beef Producer Shifts Focus Toward Plant-Based Proteins

Cargill, one of the countries largest livestock companies, is redefining their corporate strategy to invest in alternative proteins like fish, insects and plant-based proteins rather than beef. 

Read more

Year After Year the Forest Crabs in Cuba Swarm by the Millions

It's the march of the crabs! Watch as Cuba is overrun by literally millions of crabs roaming the streets on their annual migration towards the sea. 

Read more

What’s All This Plastic Doing in the Arctic?

Swathes of small plastic particles found in the Arctic ocean, mirroring the "Great Plastic Garbage Patch" of the Pacific as we continue to pollute regions we don't even inhabit.

Read more

Researchers Reveal They’ve Finally Discovered the Secret to Artificial Photosynthesis

Researchers have found a way to artificially mimic plant life's natural ability to turn light and air into a form of energy. This could be big news when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases.

Read more

Where Did the Fireflies Go?

Fireflies are a symbol of the coming warm months and for many people signify the beauty of summer. But there numbers are dwindling. Here's how you can help. 

Read more

Ocean Pollutants are Causing Weaker Immune Systems for Wild Dolphins

New research shows that wild dolphins have been shown to have weaker immune systems than those in captivity due to constant exposure to pathogens in the ocean.

Read more

Man Finds Himself Face To Face with a Baby Elephant Seal

Heartwarming footage of a baby elephant seal cozying up to a nearby observing human. A cute video that shows just how affectionate nature and wildlife can be. 

Read more

Logging and the Healing Effect of Trees on Climate Change

New research shows that our logging industry is one of the biggest contributors to manmade climate change. The solution? Look to the trees. 

Read more

Pacific Razor Clam Digging Habits Go Viral

Footage of this Pacific Razor Clam is spreading across the internet at blazing speeds. It shows the peculiar digging habits of this marine life and is sure to surprise you!

Read more

How Bad Is Climate Change for Our Health, Really?

Research has shown that climate change is having it drastic effect on our planet. But what does that mean for our health? New research gives us an idea.

Read more

The Harmful Effects of Light Pollution

Though few people consider light pollution to be that big of a problem nowadays, the truth is this particular form of environmental degradation is more harmful than you'd think.

Read more

Best Preserved Nodosaur Fossil Accidently Found by Miners in Canada

An amazing find for scientists and the public alike, this video shows a fossilized nodosaur in pristine condition. An amazing glimpse at what these amazing creatures looked like!

Read more

The Beginner’s Guide to Composting

Ever wanted to reap the numerous benefits of a compost pile but didn't know where to start? This quick guide will help you get composting in no time! 

Read more

Remote Island in the South Pacific Covered in 38 Million Pieces of Plastic

Watch this footage that shows one of the world's most uninhabited places utterly destroyed by the rampant plastic pollution caused by humans. 

Read more



    Help Us Go Green
    Help Us Go Green