More than 2,500 jobs could be lost to climate-related threats, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Scientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center estimated that a 1°C rise in global temperatures could result in a 1,000-2,500 percent increase in coastal erosion and flooding.
That would mean an increase in mortality rates, coastal erosion, and coastal flooding.
The study estimates the cumulative effects on coastal properties, property damage, and fatalities, and the impacts on the economy and society at large.
The researchers used data from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s National Flood Insurance Program, and a climate model to simulate the effects of a 1.5°C global temperature rise.
NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center released the report in December, citing the study’s importance as an assessment of the current climate system and as a means to inform coastal management.
“As climate scientists have repeatedly pointed out, climate change is already having a significant impact on coastal ecosystems,” NOAA Director of Coastal and Coastal Hazards and Climate Kevin Lacey said in a statement.
“Our study is a critical first step toward quantifying the extent of these impacts and helping policymakers and policymakers’ constituencies better understand what’s at stake if they decide to act.”
NOAA scientists also say that the study is an important contribution to an ongoing conversation about how to prepare for and mitigate climate-induced hazards in coastal areas.
The study also provides insight into how climate change could impact a wider swath of coastal communities, including coastal tourism and the economy.
“The fact that there are multiple climate scenarios, each with varying impacts, and each with different impacts across coastal areas means that we need to consider the coastal impact as well as the economic impact, and we have to understand that climate impacts are cumulative,” Lacey told Polygon.
“It’s an issue of economic prosperity and livelihoods, and it’s also an issue that impacts people and their communities.
That means we need a wide-ranging conversation about what is happening, what we can do about it, and how do we protect ourselves.”
The researchers estimated that climate-driven coastal erosion could cause a 1-to-2 percent increase on the number of coastal deaths per year, and they calculated that climate effects could lead to a 2 percent increase for the total economic loss and a 1 percent increase per capita in the amount of money lost per year.
The findings also provide some insight into the impact of climate change on fisheries.
According to the study, if the rate of global warming increases 1° C, an additional 1,100 to 2,400 million pounds of fish would be lost annually.
The loss could be as much as $2 billion to $4 billion per year in economic losses.
“I think what we’re seeing in this study is that we’re now starting to understand the impacts of climate on fisheries,” Latta said.
“Climate change is happening at the global level and there are many different impacts that we haven’t yet realized.”