One of the more interesting, and hard to predict, impacts of sea-level rise is how people are going to respond to it. Sure, there will continue to be local actions like living shorelines, hardening, and elevating buildings, but people are also very mobile. How many people might leave coastal areas entirely and where might they go? A recent paper in Nature Climate Change looked forward to 2100 to try to answer that very question.

The results were very interesting. For example, it predicted an additional 250,000 people moving to the Atlanta area just due to sea-level rise impacts. This was under the “adaptation” scenario that assumed many people would be able to adapt and not have to move. So, it’s a pretty good start for predicting how even areas very far inland could be affected by sea-level rise.

One thing I’ve wanted to do for a long time is to incorporate sea-level rise impacts into the South Atlantic urban growth models—particularly the impacts of sea-level rise refugees. The biggest limitation was getting the kind of information that was in this paper. With the publication of this paper, looks like we’re one step closer. Stay tuned!