Charleston’s Time as a Coastal City is Running Out

Will Charleston be underwater in 80 years???

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The more research that is done on our sea-level rising, the more daunting scientists’ predictions become for the status of U.S. coastal cities. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that earth’s sea levels would rise an additional 3 feet by 2100; however earlier this year, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claimed that the worst-case estimate is more than double the originally predicted 3 feet – predicting that sea levels could rise about 6.5 feet by 2100. This prediction is a huge threat to Charleston.   Business Insider released an article in 2017 that contained photos which revealed concerning images of the Charleston area as predicted to be completely underwater in 80 years. They predicted that by 2060, 25.5% of habitable land will be underwater and 14.8% of the population will own homes at risk of flooding. This land is representative of $2.1 billion worth of property – and the numbers only get worse over time. This extremely distressing information has sparked community outcry throughout the Charleston area – although the predictions are reflective of the worst possible case.  NOAA Coastal Hazards Specialist states that this image is slightly unlikely. Overall, it should be taken into account if one is planning for things such as the construction of new buildings or the protection of existing critical infrastructure as the worst possible scenario . As more frequent flooding events are being anticipated on the peninsula and in the surrounding Charleston area, local governments need to take this predicted sea level rise under serious consideration. The extreme is that the sea level in Charleston reaches 12 feet around 2100; howeve, the middle part of this range is what will most likely be demonstrated in Charleston, with slight uncertainty because of melting ice sheets in Antarctica. The City of Charleston sea level rise strategy is predicting a rise of 2.5 feet by 2065, preparing for the next 50 years or so rather than 2100. The City of Charleston has gotten public output on projects to replace and raise the sea wall along the battery as a portion of the plan to eliminate flooding on the peninsula. With this being said, if you live on the water or are planning to live in Charleston when you grow up – you should be slightly worried about the fate of Charleston in the coming years, as well as all U.S. cities along the east and west coasts.