Advertisement

Population and Environment

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 28–54 | Cite as

Understanding the demographic implications of climate change: estimates of localized population predictions under future scenarios of sea-level rise

  • Katherine J. CurtisEmail author
  • Annemarie Schneider
Original Paper

Abstract

Significant advances have been made to understand the interrelationship between humans and the environment in recent years, yet research has not produced useful localized estimates that link population forecasts to environmental change. Coarse, static population estimates that have little information on projected growth or spatial variability mask substantial impacts of environmental change on especially vulnerable populations. We estimate that 20 million people in the United States will be affected by sea-level rise by 2030 in selected regions that represent a range of sociodemographic characteristics and corresponding risks of vulnerability. Our results show that the impact of sea-level rise extends beyond the directly impacted counties due to migration networks that link inland and coastal areas and their populations. Substantial rates of population growth and migration are serious considerations for developing mitigation, adaptation, and planning strategies, and for future research on the social, demographic, and political dimensions of climate change.

Keywords

Climate change Sea-level rise Population scenarios Local estimates Vulnerable populations United States 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by funds to Curtis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School and by the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station. The authors wish to acknowledge Paul Voss, Jennifer Huck, and Bill Buckingham of the Applied Population Laboratory for technical assistance, Jack DeWaard for invaluable research assistance, and Halliman Winsborough, the editor, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions.

References

  1. Branshaw, J., & Trainor, J. (2007). The sociology of Katrina: Perspectives on a modern catastrophe. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  2. Brodie, M., Weltzien, E., Altman, D., Blendon, R. J., & Benson, J. M. (2006). Experiences of hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston shelters: Implications for future planning. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1402–1408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dobson, J. E., Bright, E. A., Coleman, P. R., & Worley, B. A. (2000). LandScan: A global population database for estimating populations at risk. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 66, 849–857.Google Scholar
  4. Eakin, H., & Luers, A. (2006). Assessing the vulnerability of socio-environmental systems. Annual Review of Environmental Resources, 31, 365–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Finch, C., Emrich, C. T., & Cutter, S. L. (2010). Disaster disparities and differential recovery in New Orleans. Population and Environment, 31, 179–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Frey, W. H., & Singer, A. (2006). Katrina and Rita impacts on Gulf Coast populations: First census findings. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  7. Fussell, E., Sastry, N., & Vanlandingham, M. (2010). Race, socioeconomic status, and return migration to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Population and Environment, 31, 20–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Goldenberg, S. B., Landsea, C. W., Mestas-Nunez, A. M., & Gray, W. M. (2001). The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: Causes and implications. Science (New York, NY).Google Scholar
  9. Grübler, A., et al. (2007). Regional, national, and spatially explicit scenarios of demographic and economic change based on SRES. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 74, 980–1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gutierrez, B. T., Williams, S. J., & Thieler, E. R. (2007). Potential for shoreline changes due to sea-level rise along the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region. U.S. Geological Survey Report Series 2007-1278, U.S. Department of the Interior.Google Scholar
  11. Gutmann, M. P., & Field, V. (2010). Katrina in historical context: environment and migration in the U.S. Population and Environment, 31, 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Homer, C., Huang, C., Yang, L., Wylie, B., & Coan, M. (2004). Development of a 2001 national land-cover database for the United States. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 70, 829–840.Google Scholar
  13. Hori, M., & Schafer, M. J. (2009). Social costs of displacement in Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Population and Environment, 31, 64–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Iceland, J. (2006). Poverty in America (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. (2007). Synthesis report. Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  16. King, S. L., Sharitz, R. R., Groninger, J. W., & Battaglia, L. L. (2009). The ecology, restoration, and management of southeastern floodplain ecosystems: A synthesis. Wetlands, 29, 624–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Knabb, R. D., Rhome, J. R., & Brown, D. P. (2006). Tropical cyclone report: Hurricane Katrina. National Hurricane Center.Google Scholar
  18. Lutz, W., Goujon, A., Samir, K. C., & Sanderson, W. (2007). Vienna yearbook of population research 2007. Vienna, Austria: Vienna Institute of Demography.Google Scholar
  19. Massey, D. S., & Denton, N. A. (1993). American apartheid. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. McGranahan, G., Balk, D., & Anderson, B. (2007). The rising tide: Assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones. Environment and Urbanization, 19, 17–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meehl, G.A., et al. (2007). Global climate projections. In Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Meier, M. F., et al. (2007). Glaciers dominate eustatic sea-level rise in the 21st century. Science, 317, 1064–1067.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mulligan, M. (2007). Global sea level change analysis based on SRTM topography and coastline and water bodies dataset (SWBD). URL: http://www.ambiotek.com/sealevel.
  24. Myers, C. A., Slack, T., & Singelmann, J. (2008). Social vulnerability and migration in the wake of disaster: The case of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Population and Environment, 29, 271–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Science Foundation. (2009). NSF solving the puzzle: Researching the impacts of climate change around the world 2009.Google Scholar
  26. O’Neill, B. C., MacKellar, F. L., & Lutz, W. (2001). Population and climate change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Perry, M. J. (2006). Domestic net migration in the United States: 2000 to 2004. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  28. Plyer, A., Bonaguro, J., & Hodges, K. (2010). Using administrative data to estimate population displacement and resettlement following a catastrophic U.S. disaster. Population and Environment, 31, 150–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rowley, R. J., Kostelnick, J. C., Braaten, D., Li, X., & Meisel, J. (2007). Risk of rising sea level to population and land area. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 88, 105.Google Scholar
  30. Schneider, A., Friedl, M. A., & Potere, D. (2009). A new map of global urban extent from MODIS satellite data. Environmental Research Letters, 4, 044003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shryock, H. S., & Siegel, J. S. (Eds.). (1980). The materials and methods of demography. Washintgon, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  32. Siegel, J. (2002). Applied demography: Applications to business, government, law and public policy. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  33. Small, C., & Cohen, J. (2004). Continental physiography, climate, and the global distribution of human population. Current Anthropology, 45, 269–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sugarman, P. (1998). Sea-level rise in New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Geological Survey.Google Scholar
  35. Titus, J. G., & Richman, C. (2001). Maps of lands vulnerable to sea level rise: Modeled elevations along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Climate Research, 18, 205–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. U.S. Census Bureau. (2001a). 2000 Census of Population and Housing: Summary File 1 United States.Google Scholar
  37. U.S. Census Bureau. (2001b). Census 2000 Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary Files.Google Scholar
  38. U.S. Census Bureau. (2001c). ESCAP II: Demographic analysis results. Executive steering Committee for A.C.E. Policy II, Report No. 1, October 13, 2001, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  39. U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). 2000 Census of Population Modified Race Data Summary File.Google Scholar
  40. U.S. Census Bureau [producer]. (2003). Census of Population and Housing, 2000 [United States]: County-to-County Migration Flow Files [computer file].Google Scholar
  41. U.S. Census Bureau Population Division. (2008). 2008 County Population Estimates.Google Scholar
  42. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service. (2007). Florida Census of Agriculture.URL:http://nass.usda.gov/fl.
  43. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service. (2008). California Agricultural Statistics. URL:http://nass.usda.gov/ca.
  44. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001a). Multiple causes of death of ICD-9 Data, 19902000.Google Scholar
  45. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001b). Natality detail data, 19902000.Google Scholar
  46. Voss, P. R., McNiven, S., Hammer, R. B., Johnson, K. M., & Fuguitt, G. V. (2004). County-specific net migration by five-year age groups, Hispanic origin, race and sex 1990–2000. Working paper 2004–24. Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.Google Scholar
  47. Warner, K., Ehrhart, C., de Sherbinin, A., Adamo, S., & Chai-Onn, T. (2009). In search of shelter: Mapping the effects of climate change on displacement and migration.Google Scholar
  48. Webster, P. J., Holland, G. J., Curry, J. A., & Chang, H.-R. (2005). Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in a warming environment. New York, NY: Science.Google Scholar
  49. Williams, D. R., & Collins, C. (1995). U.S. socioeconomic and racial differences in health: patterns and explanations. Annual Review of Sociology, 21, 349–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Young, M. H., Mogelgaard, K., Hardee, K. (2009). Projecting population, projecting climate change population in IPCC scenarios. Population (English Edition).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community & Environmental SociologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Sustainability and the Global EnvironmentMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations