The flooding of coastlines and coastal communities is more than sea level rise. Sea level rise is the largest systemic effect, but two other effects can increase or decrease the flooding: geological shifts, and hydrological changes. North America continues to shift from a series of events. Much of the continent continues to rise from the retreat of the previous ice age. Some locations, however, have stronger effects in the opposite direction. The US mid-Atlantic seaboard is actually sinking as sediments settle. The settling is exacerbated by the depletion of the acquifers. As people pump water out of the ground, the ground sinks. Some locations on the West Coast are fortunate enough to have all of the effects balance. In places like North Carolina, the effects are additive. As sea level has risen 3.5 inches in ten years, the ground has sunk by more than 1 inch. The effect is far above the global average. Increased coastal flooding will be most prominent along America’s greatest concentration of people and power, and worst where Virginia meets North Carolina.
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