46,000-plus Texas homes could be underwater by 2100

by James McClister

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By 2100, 46,800 Texas homes could be underwater, according to a new study.

The paper, authored by professors Robert Deconto, of the University of Massachusetts, and David Pollard, a senior scientist with Pennsylvania State University’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, and published in the science journal Nature, postulates the future of sea level rise. It asserts that if greenhouse gas emission rates remain constant, world ocean levels could rise more than six feet and sink approximately $882 billion in residential property by 2100. That would amount to a loss of 1.9 million homes, according to Zillow.

And about 47,000 of those losses would occur in Texas.

In Zillow’s analysis, in which it compared sea level maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration against its own home data, the listing portal determined what homes where would be affected in the event of a six-foot rise in sea level. Should Deconto and Pollard’s models prove accurate, Texas would lose $12 billion in residential property to the encroaching ocean.

State Total value of potentially underwater properties No. of potentially underwater properties Fraction of total housing stock underwater
Florida $413B 934,411 12.56%
New Jersey $93.1B 190,429 7.35%
New York $71B 96,708 2.10%
Massachusetts $51.2B 62,069 3.10%
California $49.2B 42,353 0.44%
South Carolina $45B 83,833 4.42%
Hawaii $25.3B 37,556 9.07%
North Carolina $20.6B 57,259 1.64%
Maryland $19.6B 64,299 3.09%
Virginia $14.4B 46,287 1.77%
Washington $13.7B 31,235 1.32%
Louisiana $13.2B 80,080 5.88%
Connecticut $13.2B 18,173 1.61%
Texas $12B 46,804 0.61%
Georgia $10.2B 24,379 0.75%
Alabama $3.8B 12,735 0.77%
Delaware $3.6B 11,670 3.09%
Maine $3.1B 5,412 0.98%
Rhode Island $2.9B 4,853 1.47%
New Hampshire $1.7B 4,064 0.71%
Mississippi $1B 5,572 0.72%
Oregon $1B 4,959 0.37%
Pennsylvania $730M 2,661 0.06%

However, in an interview with The Washington Post, Eric Rignot, an earth sciences professor at the University of California, Irvine, who did not contribute to the study, said Deconto and Pollard’s projections are less a prediction than they are a warning.

“People should not look at this as a futuristic scenario of things that may or may not happen. They should look at it as the tragic story we are following right now,” he said. “We are not there yet … [But] with the current rate of emissions, we are heading that way.”

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