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30th October 2019

Dr Komali Kantamaneni discusses new research that highlights how the risk of flooding is worse than predicted.

Before today, sea level rise and flooding were already forecast to wreak havoc for millions now and in the coming decades. Now, the story looks much worse - three times worse, to be precise. According to new research, hundreds of millions more people are already at risk from climate breakdown-caused coastal flooding and sea level rise than previously thought. And by the end of the century, large swathes of the coastal land we live on today could be uninhabitable - even with immediate and deep emission cuts.

Existing estimates of risk from sea-level rise - taken from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission - didn't exactly paint a rosy picture for coastal communities. But in using space-based satellite imagery to measure the elevations of surfaces closest to the sky, much of the data actually reported the elevation of treetops and rooftops, rather than the ground itself. As a result, it overestimates coastal elevations by more than two metres on average, and more than four metres in urban areas.

Read Dr Komali Kantamaneni's article in full on The Conversation