Sea-level rise and sub-county population projections in coastal Georgia


It is increasingly apparent that stressors associated with anthropocentric climate change are likely to have dramatic effects on future human settlement patterns. Although sea-level rise is one of the best understood implications of climate change, geographically precise estimation of potential population displacement due to tidewater inundation has proven remarkably problematic. At least within the USA, these problems partially stem from methodological limitations of population projection methodology at sub-county scales. Using a case study of coastal Georgia, USA, this paper develops and demonstrates a new housing unit-based population projection method that is applied at the sub-county scale of Census Block Groups. These projections are then overlaid with spatiotemporally explicit assessments of future sea-level rise inundation provided through the Sea Level Affecting Marsh Model (SLAMM). We find that between 62,000 and 159,000 people are at risk of between 1 and 2 m of sea-level rise by 2100 in coastal Georgia.

Population and Environment, (37), 1, pp. 44–62,