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Up to 13 Million Americans Are at Risk of Being Washed Away

New research highlights a threatened coastal region where attitudes capture the nuances of the climate change debate.
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Meltdown: The Science Behind Climate Change

Tyrrell County sits just inland from North Carolina’s Outer Banks barrier islands. With 3,600 people living and farming along 400 square miles, it’s an ecologically rich enclave. It also ranks No. 1 among 319 U.S. coastal counties facing long-term risk from rising seas. By 2100, according to a new study, 94 percent of Tyrrell's future population may be at risk from encroaching seawater.

The swelling ocean may threaten the homes of up to 13.1 million coast-dwelling Americans by the end of this century, according to the study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. Led by Mathew Hauer, a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia, the research is novel because it combines population projections with sea-level rise projections.