Climate change exposes U.S. coastal woes

Jan. 29, 2013 at 7:37 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Extreme weather events, coupled with the strains of human development, means coastal communities in the United States are vulnerable, a report states.

A report from the U.S. Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says all coastal areas of the United States are vulnerable because of climate change.

"An increase in the intensity of extreme weather events such as storms like Sandy and Katrina, coupled with sea-level rise and the effects of increased human development along the coasts, could affect the sustainability of many existing coastal communities and natural resources," USGS researcher Virginia Burkett said in a statement.

USGS estimated that erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy, a late October storm, eroded 30 years worth of sand at beaches in parts of New York.

NOAA said that Sandy exposed vulnerabilities along the coast, though the report's authors noted that all coastal areas are at risk, particularly low-lying areas along the Gulf of Mexico, northern Alaska, Hawaii and island territories.

Sandy formed over Atlantic waters that were unseasonably warm. Some studies have suggested man-made activity is increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events like last year's storm.

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