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Climate change impacts to US coasts threaten public health, safety and economy
Date:2/4/2013

affect the sustainability of many existing coastal communities and natural resources," said Virginia Burkett of the U.S. Geological Survey and co-lead author of the report.

The authors also emphasized that storm surge flooding and sea-level rise pose significant threats to public and private infrastructure that provides energy, sewage treatment, clean water and transportation of people and goods. These factors increase threats to public health, safety, and employment in the coastal zone.

The report's authors noted that the population of the coastal watershed counties of the U.S. and territories, including the Great Lakes, make up more than 50 percent of the nation's population and contributed more than $8.3 trillion to the 2011 U.S. economy but depend on healthy coastal landforms, water resources, estuaries and other natural resources to sustain them. Climate changes, combined with human development activities, reduce the ability of coasts to provide numerous benefits, including food, clean water, jobs, recreation and protection of communities against storms.

Seventy-nine federal, academic and other scientists, including the lead authors from the NOAA and USGS, authored the report which is being used as a technical input to the third National Climate Assessment an interagency report produced for Congress once every four years to summarize the science and impacts of climate change on the United States.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Expected public health impacts include a decline in seafood quality, shifts in disease patterns and increases in rates of heat-related morbidity.
  • Changes in the location and the time of year when storms form can lead to large changes in where storms land and the impacts of storms. Any sea-level rise is virtually certain to exacerbate storm-surge and flooding related hazards.
  • Because of changes in the hydrological cycle due to warming, precipitation events (rain
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Contact: Louis Caferio
Louis.Caferio@noaa.gov
301-563-1141
NOAA Headquarters
Source:Eurekalert

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