This Georgia city is sinking at an alarming rate, study shows

ATLANTA — Dozens of cities along the coastlines of the United States are sinking at an alarming rate, according to a report published in the journal “Nature” last week.

Among those cities is Savannah.

The study also showed that much of the Gulf Coast is sinking rapidly, with Southern Louisiana especially threatened by rising water.

Climate scientists said these areas are now far more susceptible to devastating flooding from sea level rise than previously thought.

Up to 273,000 people and 171,000 properties in coastal regions around the U.S. could be impacted, according to the paper’s findings, ABC News reported.

The sinking is primarily due to excessive extraction of resources like groundwater, oil and gas.

“What happens on the land really, really affects us,” Leonard Ohenhen, a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Tech University, told ABC. “And so if you have a land sinking on one side and see rising on the other side, you’re going to have areas that would be inundated in the future.”

Other contributing factors include seismic activity and soil compaction -- which can occur naturally or come from the weight of heavy buildings.


Large cities surrounded by water, such as Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco, will be among the areas that will experience flooding in the near future with the rise of the sea level.

Nearly 40% of the US population lives near the coasts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

“As climate change continues to worsen, we are going to see even more worsened effects in most coastal cities,” Ohenhen said.

Parts of Florida, such as Miami, are already seeing what is called “sunny day flooding,” which happens with high tides.

“Miami showed the greatest share of exposure to flooding, with up to 122,000 people and up to 81,000 properties that could be at risk of flooding by 2050,” ABC reported.

ABC News contributed to this article.


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