Rising sea levels could trigger strong inland migration in the US

Several times it has been reported that several coastal areas of the United States will also suffer from sea level rise and now a new study, conducted by researchers from the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, seems to certify it. According to the researchers, the rise in sea levels could cause real inland mass migrations by the populations of coastal areas that would pour into inland cities.

Published in PLOS ONE, the study used the technique of machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence algorithm, to calculate the migration patterns that would result from sea-level rise along the U.S. coast. The results show that the impacts would literally spread throughout the country and that not only the populations on the coast, which will naturally be those directly subject to the effects, such as floods, will suffer, but also the populations of inland areas given the strong migratory flows that would be triggered.

By doing some calculations, researchers have come to the conclusion that at least 13 million people would be forced to move from coastal areas to inland areas by the year 2100. This flow will bring about very important changes for several cities in terms of population increase or decrease. Adverse effects would include those related to the economy, with more competition for jobs, higher house prices and generally greater pressure on infrastructure.

“Our results indicate that everyone should be concerned about rising sea levels, whether they live on the coast or not. This is a global impact problem,” says Bistra Dilkina, one of the researchers involved in the study. The researchers have also calculated that the main destination for climate migrants on the southeast coast will also be Houston, Dallas and especially Austin, a city that should see a sharp increase in population. Several counties around Los Angeles are also expected to see many of their inhabitants leaving to live in safer inland destinations.