Over the course of this century, many millions of coastal-dwelling Americans will be uprooted by sea level rise and forced to head inland. There's a term for that, IDP, or internally displaced persons.
A new study out of the University of Georgia ponders where these all-American migrants will go.
Scientists believe sea-level rise will trigger movements similar to those observed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The movements may happen more gradually, but they will likely occur on a grander scale. Researchers estimate as many as 13.1 million people will be displaced by sea level rise in the coming decades.
Population growth presents a variety of challenges, from traffic congestion to water supply. Cities across the Sun Belt are already struggling to meet the water and electricity demands of growing populations.
"Some of the anticipated landlocked destinations, such as Las Vegas, Atlanta and Riverside, California, already struggle with water management or growth management challenges," Hauer said. "Incorporating accommodation strategies in strategic long-range planning could help alleviate the potential future intensification of these challenges."
Similar patterns of climate migration are expected globally. In addition to sea level rise, extreme heat and droughts could render much of the Middle East and parts of Africa uninhabitable -- inspiring mass migrations.
Sea level rise is really small potatoes when it comes to climate migration. Resource depletion and exhaustion, the scarcity of safe freshwater, crop failures and famine, epidemics and warfare are among mass migration multipliers that lurk on the horizon.