Slowly but surely: Exposure of communities and infrastructure to subsidence on the US east coast


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Oxford University Press


Coastal communities are vulnerable to multihazards, which are exacerbated by land subsidence. On the US east coast, the high density of population and assets amplifies the region's exposure to coastal hazards. We utilized measurements of vertical land motion rates obtained from analysis of radar datasets to evaluate the subsidence-hazard exposure to population, assets, and infrastructure systems/facilities along the US east coast. Here, we show that 2,000 to 74,000 km² land area, 1.2 to 14 million people, 476,000 to 6.3 million properties, and >50% of infrastructures in major cities such as New York, Baltimore, and Norfolk are exposed to subsidence rates between 1 and 2 mm per year. Additionally, our analysis indicates a notable trend: as subsidence rates increase, the extent of area exposed to these hazards correspondingly decreases. Our analysis has far-reaching implications for community and infrastructure resilience planning, emphasizing the need for a targeted approach in transitioning from reactive to proactive hazard mitigation strategies in the era of climate change.


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coastal hazard, land subsidence, infrastructure hazards, exposure