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Study: Miami Beach, Florida Keys Could Be Underwater Within 30 Years

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Miami Beach, Key West, the Upper, and Lower Keys will soon be underwater, according to a study made by an environmental watchdog group.

The study, first published in 2018 by the Union of Concerned Scientists, identified U.S. coastal communities where "the largest number of residents live in properties that are projected to face the highest level of chronic and disruptive flooding, or effective inundation" by 2060.

"Sea level is rising there's no doubt about it," states Dr. Sam Purkis who is a professor and department chair at University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

He explains that the "cities on the list are low-lying and it only takes a little bit of sea level rise to make it impossible to maintain those cities [from flooding]."

Analysis and projections made by the group point to more than 300,000 homes likely to be at risk of chronic tidal flooding within 30 years.

Estimates based on existing homes indicate that the total could rise to 2.4 million homes and more than $1 trillion in property damage by the end of the century.

Here are the top 10 cities/regions that the group says will soon be underwater:
1. Miami Beach
2. Hoboken, NJ
3. Atlantic City, NJ
4. Key West
5. Galveston, TX
6. Hilton Head Island, SC
7. Lower Keys
8. Mount Pleasant, SC
9. Chesapeake, VA
10. Upper Keys

"Underwater" was first published June 2018 by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based environmental watchdog group.

"In the coming decades, the consequences of rising seas will strain many coastal real estate markets—abruptly or gradually, but some eventually to the point of collapse—with potential reverberations throughout the national economy. And with the inevitability of ever-higher seas, these are not devaluations from which damaged real estate markets will recover," according to the study.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says it puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems.

Click here to read the study in its entirety.

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