Sea level rise is one of the calling cards of anthropogenic climate change. But until now, it’s been difficult to say exactly how much of the recent increase in coastal flooding can be attributed to our nasty habit of burning fossil fuels. A new analysis by Climate Central connects the dots.
The assessment builds on research led by Rutgers University climate scientist Robert Kopp, who recently estimated the human contribution to global sea level. The Climate Central team used Kopp’s yearly estimates to calculate how many of the floods at 27 tide gauges around the country could have occurred without humans meddling with the atmosphere. They found that of 8,726 nuisance floods from 1950 to 2014, two-thirds were climate change driven. Looking just at the past decade, that figure rises to 75 percent. And at some sites in Florida, more than 90 percent of the swampings would not have happened if we hadn’t turned the tide.
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