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- No city is entirely safe from natural disasters, but a some are better positioned to avoid them than others.
- We asked 12 climate scientists where they would consider living to avoid climate change.
- Cities like Portland, Tulsa, and Minneapolis ranked among the preferred locations.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
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United Nations scientists predict that we haveonly a decade left to avoid the worst effects of climate change — sweltering heatwaves, violent hurricanes, and larger, more frequent wildfires.
Climate change is already be impacting where people in the US choose to move. A 2017 study found that American homes that are vulnerable to rising seas sell for around 7% less than similar unexposed properties— even though the damage could be decades away.
To figure out what areas are least vulnerable to natural disasters in the future, we asked 12 climate scientists where they would consider living to avoid climate change. All were quick to note that no area is entirely safe, but a few cities could be less vulnerable than the rest.
Here are the cities they said are the least vulnerable to disaster.
Tulsa, Oklahoma is not threatened by sea-level rise.
Cities like Miami are likely to see flooding become more intense and frequent, Richard Alley, a climate science professor at Pennsylvania State University, told Business Insider. Ifthe West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapses rapidly, he said, global sea levels could increase by 4 to 5 meters in the next 100 years.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, however, is not vulnerable to that threat. In addition to its locational advantage, Tulsa has gone to great lengths to protect itself from flooding. Following a devastating storm in 1984, the city installed a number of detention ponds, which retain water in the wake of a storm. Tulsa also paid to either transport or destroy around 1,000 homes that had been damaged. As a result, its flood-insurance rates went from the highest in the nation to among the lowest.
Hartford, Connecticut is also not vulnerable to sea-level rise.
In a 2016 study, climate sociologist Mathew Hauer pinpointed the US cities that had the most residents likely to be affected by 6 feet of sea-level rise by 2100.
"When we first started working on that project, 6 feet was considered the highest high by the end of the century," Hauer told Business Insider. "Now it's 10 feet."
His study predicted that cities like Miami and New Orleans would see "catastrophic impacts."
"When you start tacking on storm surges, tidal flooding, all those other associated events, the numbers get much larger," Hauer said.
Hartford, Connecticut, however, is relatively safe thanks to its inland location and small population size (around 124,000 people).
Even if Boulder, Colorado gets hit by a major drought in the next 10 years, the city won't run out of water.
Two of the top criteria for avoiding the threat of sea-level rise are high elevation and a location in the middle of the country, Camilo Mora, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii, told Business Insider. To avoid environmental disasters, Mora said, people should look for places where they can live self-sufficiently, with an independent agricultural system and a body of water that doesn't depend on melting ice.
While Mora didn't identify a single city that best meets these criteria, Boulder, Colorado, fits the bill. It's far from the coast and has an altitude of more than 5,300 feet.
Boulder has also carefully monitored its water usage to account for changes in weather. Even if the city expands, officials have found, it will own enough water rights to meet residents' demands through 2030.
San Diego, California has the best all-around weather compared to other major cities.
San Diego may be exposed to rising seas, but its coastal location gives it a host of other advantages. According to research from Sarah Kapnick, a climate scientist at Princeton University, San Diego may have the most ideal weather of any US city.
Kapnick studied "mild weather" days in the US — those suited for outdoor activities, with low precipitation, low humidity, and temperatures between 64 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit — and found that summers are becoming hotter and more humid. By the end of the century, she discovered, cities in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico could lose weeks of mild weather due to climate change.
This wasn't the case in San Diego, however, which currently boasts 180 days of mild weather per year. By comparison, Los Angeles gets 157, New York has 83, and Boston sees just 76.
In the future, San Diego could see even better weather: Kapnick's study predicts the city will gain three mild days per year by the end of the century. A concern for San Diego, however, is the loss of precipitation, which can raise the risk of drought and wildfire. Those are threats that nearly all California cities face.
Sacramento, California may be vulnerable to wildfires, but it could still be one of the safest places to avoid the cumulative effects of natural disasters.
According to Vivek Shandas, an urban-planning professor at Portland State University, Sacramento ranks among the cities that are least vulnerable to the cumulative effects of hurricanes, sea level rise, tornadoes, flooding, droughts, landslides, and wildfires.
The city is less than two hours outside San Francisco and is developing strategiesto preparefor the effects of climate change.
Michael Anderson, the state climatologist at California's Department of Water Resources, said some northern California cities are less vulnerable to extreme heat, too.
"Just by latitude, you're in a cooler climate," he said. "You have the marine layer — colder waters coming down from the north that modulate the temperature."
Minnesota's twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are relatively sheltered from hurricanes and floods.
Minneapolis may be known for its harsh winters, but the city is not likely to get much colder than it is already, according to David Robinson, New Jersey's state climatologist and a professor at Rutgers University.
Robinson said Minneapolis could be ideal for those looking to avoid the harshest effects of climate change.
While Minneapolis may be susceptible to droughts and thunderstorms, its northern, inland location makes it less vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding. Hurricanes are among the most destructive natural disasters; in the US they primarily threaten those along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic seaboard.
Robinson also said summers in Minneapolis probably won't get as persistently hot as in other cities.
The inland location of Charlotte, North Carolina makes it less vulnerable to hurricanes.
While North Carolina has suffered through its fair share of hurricanes, Louisiana state climatologistBarry Keim said Charlotte is the least vulnerable city when it comes to the overall effects of climate change.
It's far enough inland to avoid the worst of the Atlantic hurricane season, which could get more severe as the climate continues to change. The city's climate is also mild, with a mean annual temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. While most cities are getting hotter as a result of climate change, Charlotte has actually begun to cool downover time.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania could experience less extreme cold in the future.
The fact that the Midwest has seen seen its population decline in recent decades is "somewhat ironic," John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist and a professor at Texas A&M University, told Business Insider.
"Not only will the Midwest avoid many of the bad effects of climate change, it will experience most of the good effects: less extreme cold and a longer growing season," Nielsen-Gammon said.
One city in particular that stands to benefit is Pittsburgh, which Nielsen-Gammon said is "safe from hurricanes" and unlikely to experience drought. In 2018, the Pittsburgh City Council approved an ambitious new climate plantoreduce carbon emissions.
Portland, Oregon could become a refuge for climate migrants.
For those unwilling to give up on a coast, Portland may be ideal. Compared to other coastal states, Oregon faces less property at risk because of sea-level rise and less physical area exposed, Kristy Dahl, a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Business Insider.
It's also less vulnerable to hurricanes compared to cities along the East and Gulf Coasts, according to Astrid Caldas, a senior climate scientist at UCS.
He travels to dozens of cities each year, Shandas said, but few rival Portland's ability to withstand major climate events. A 2011 report from Portland State University echoed that— it predicted that the Willamette Valley would become a refuge for people looking to escape the harsh effects of climate change.
In 1993, Portland became the firstUS city to devise a plan for cutting carbon, vowing to reduce local carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The city is also a recipient of theC40 Cities award, which recognizes the world's most inspiring and innovative cities tackling climate change.
Unfortunately, Hawaii is expected to see more frequent and intense tropical storms, so scientists don't recommend living there.
Hiro Murakami, an associate research scholar at Princeton who studies hurricane and cyclone forecasting, said it's far easier to predict which cities are vulnerable to these natural disasters than name specific places that will be immune to them.
Murakami warned that people should not move to the Hawaiian Islands. In a 2013 study, he predicted that Hawaii's tropical storm frequency would double by the next century.
But Caldas said there's no one-size-fits-all recommendation when it comes to minimizing climate risk.
"One may move away from the coast, only to find that inland floods are a problem. One may move from the south seeking cooler climates only to be hit by extreme precipitation, or drought, or wildfires," she said. "Each person or community needs to weigh all the factors carefully and choose their level of risk-taking."
- Seattle, Washington. Like San Francisco, Seattle doesn't expect to see a drastic increase in days with extreme heat or high heat and humidity. ...
- Columbus, Ohio. ...
- Minneapolis, Minnesota. ...
- Baltimore, Maryland. ...
- Portland, Oregon. ...
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ...
- Richmond, Virginia. ...
- Houston, Texas.
Yes, the vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists – 97 percent – agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change.What state is safest from climate change? ›
Overall, the top five best states concerning climate resilience are California, Maine, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. The top five worst-ranking states were Nebraska, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alaska and, finally, Louisiana.Where to live to avoid a natural disaster? ›
- Syracuse, New York. If you can stand the brisk winters and risk of snow storms, Syracuse is one of the safest places to live in the U.S. when it comes to natural disasters. ...
- Salt Lake City, Utah. ...
- Spokane, Washington. ...
- Bozeman, Montana. ...
- Charlotte, North Carolina. ...
- Minneapolis, Minnesota. ...
- Boulder, Colorado. ...
- Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Sacramento, California is the best place to live for climate change in 2022. 60% of the top 10 places to live in the U.S. for climate change are in California.Where will be the safest place to live in 2050? ›
Michigan, says globalization expert. A new book examining the forces shaping the future of global migration forecasts Michigan as the best place in the world to live in 2050.What happens if we do nothing to stop climate change? ›
What happens if we do nothing to stop climate change? If we do not take further action to stop climate impacts we're already experiencing, the planet is likely to see global temperatures rise by 2-4 °C (3-7 °F) by the end of the century.How long until climate change is irreversible? ›
of aggressive climate change policies is that humanity is always about 10 years away from either catastrophic climate change, or some greenhouse gas emission “tipping point” at which such change will become inevitable.Why climate change is a threat? ›
Humans and wild animals face new challenges for survival because of climate change. More frequent and intense drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans can directly harm animals, destroy the places they live, and wreak havoc on people's livelihoods and communities.What states will be hit hardest by climate change? ›
|Hazard||State With Greatest Risk Overall||# of States' Greatest Risk|
|Coastal Flooding||New Jersey||2|
What state has the best weather? Many cities in southern and central California like San Diego and Santa Barbara have year-round temperatures typically between 60 and 85 degrees and see little rainfall, making California the state with the best weather!How hot will Florida be in 20 years? ›
Historical and Projected Temperature Trends in Florida
In the next 20 years, average summer temperatures are projected to rise above 83°F under both moderate and high emissions scenarios.
In 2022, Monaco and Andorra were the two safest country in the world according to the Global Risk Index. San Marino followed behind. The Global Risk Index assesses the risk for disaster for 193 countries.What is the safest country to live in for natural disasters? ›
|3||São Tomé and Príncipe||0.48%|
Michigan is considered to be the state with the least natural disasters, with a minor chance of earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Any natural disasters that have happened there have usually been less intense than they might be in other states.What state is least affected by climate change? ›
Climate change hazards like extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding are expected to impact millions of Americans by 2050. Vermont is the best state to move to avoid climate change. At-risk homeowners can minimize threats and save money by future-proofing their homes.What city is most affected by climate change? ›
Among the metro areas that are the worst off are San Francisco, California; Cape Coral, Florida; New York City, New York; Long Island, New York; Oakland, California; and Phoenix, Arizona, the report found.Will Texas become uninhabitable? ›
If you live near the coast, Nielsen-Gammon said be prepared to deal with more issues more frequently. If you want to avoid problems, move further away from flood-prone areas. "There's nothing that's going to make Texas uninhabitable, but it's going to be an increasing set of tradeoffs," Nielsen-Gammon explained.Which countries will be unlivable? ›
- The Maldives. Officially called The Republic of Maldives, this country is located in south Asia along the Indian Ocean. ...
- Kiribati. One of the countries most susceptible to climate change is Kiribati. ...
- Vanuatu. ...
- Solomon Island. ...
- Tuvalu. ...
- Samoa. ...
- Fiji Island. ...
- Vienna, Austria. unclepodger/Getty Images. ...
- Zurich, Switzerland. Didier Marti/Getty Images. ...
- Calgary, Canada. Dean Pictures/Getty Images. ...
- Vancouver, Canada. ...
- Geneva, Switzerland. ...
- Frankfurt, Germany. ...
- Toronto, Canada. ...
- Osaka, Japan.
How much time on Earth do we have left? The upshot: Earth has at least 1.5 billion years left to support life, the researchers report this month in Geophysical Research Letters.Is it too late to stop global warming? ›
Global average temperatures have risen and weather extremes have already seen an uptick, so the short answer to whether it's too late to stop climate change is: yes.How will the world look like in 2050? ›
By 2050 , the world's population will exceed at least 9 billion and by 2050 the population of India will exceed that of China. By 2050, about 75% of the world population will be living in cities. Then there will be buildings touching the sky and cities will be settled from the ground up.How long will the world last? ›
How many years of life is left on Earth? Remarkably, life on Earth only has a billion or so years left. There is some uncertainty in the calculations, but recent results suggest 1.5 billion years until the end. That is a much shorter span of time than the five billion years until the planet is engulfed by the Sun.Will there be another Ice Age? ›
Will we enter into a new ice age? No. Even if the amount of radiation coming from the Sun were to decrease as it has before, it would not significantly affect the global warming coming from long-lived, human-emitted greenhouse gases.Will humans survive climate change? ›
The panel found that humans would suffer and, for the most part, adapt and survive. Not so the millions of species with which we share the planet. Under likely warming scenarios, virtually all the globe's coral reefs (which feed and otherwise benefit a billion people) will be gone.What's the biggest threat to the planet? ›
Climate change the greatest threat the world has ever faced, UN expert warns.What is the biggest threat of climate change? ›
The single greatest threat to human health from climate change will likely be the danger it poses to plants and our food security. Throughout the world, stable crops such as wheat, corn, and rice will be harmed by the combination of heat waves and drought associated with climate change.How can we fix climate change? ›
- Save energy at home. ...
- Walk, bike, or take public transport. ...
- Eat more vegetables. ...
- Consider your travel. ...
- Throw away less food. ...
- Reduce, reuse, repair & recycle. ...
- Change your home's source of energy. ...
- Switch to an electric vehicle.
- Louisiana seaboard.
- Washington state.
- Southern Florida.
- Western Oregon.
- The south-eastern coast.
- Southern California.
A paper published by the Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom has identified five countries in geographical locations with “favourable starting conditions” that may allow them to be less touched by the effects of climate change: New Zealand, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland.What state stays 70 degrees year round? ›
While temperatures fluctuate throughout the year in most U.S. states, there are some that see averages around 70-degree weather year-round. These states include Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico.What is the best state to make a living? ›
This statistic shows the best states to make living in the United States in 2019. In 2019, Wyoming was ranked as the best state to make a living in the United States, with the cost of living index at 90.5 value and the median income of 40,240 U.S. dollars.What part of the US has the best weather? ›
First place goes to San Francisco, with only two days of extreme heat and a low temperature just below freezing at 27 degrees. Second place goes to San Diego, followed by Los Angeles. Both have an average yearly temperature of 60 degrees with sunny days 70% of the year.How soon will the Florida Keys be underwater? ›
Sea level rise projections from the Interagency Sea Level Rise Scenario Tool (published by NASA's Sea Level Change Team) indicate that Key West could experience between 0.45 and 2.16 meters (1 and 7 feet) of sea level rise by 2100.How hot will it be in 2030? ›
AUnderstanding Global Warming of 1.5°C*
warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.
Since 1880, average global temperatures have increased by about 1 degrees Celsius (1.7° degrees Fahrenheit). Global temperature is projected to warm by about 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7° degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050 and 2-4 degrees Celsius (3.6-7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.What is the safest place in America to live? ›
Naperville, Illinois, retained its No. 1 rank as the safest city overall ($156 per capita); St. Louis, Missouri, also kept its rank as the most dangerous city, with the highest per capita crime ($8,457). Mass shootings represented 4% of the total cost of crime in 2021, but are up 33% compared to 2020.What is the safest country to live in America? ›
When evaluated by 2022 GPI, the top three safest countries in North America are Canada, Costa Rica, and Panama.What is the number 1 safest place in the world? ›
Iceland is the safest place to live in the world.
It ranks number one on the latest Global Peace Index, with a score of 1.107. Even better, it's held that same position for the last decade.
Global disaster risk index 2022, by select country
Philippines is the country with the highest natural disaster risk. According to a 2022 study, it was given the disaster risk index (WRI) of 46.82. India followed, with a disaster risk index of 42.31.
1. Michigan. Located in the Midwest, Michigan is one of the safest states from natural disasters as shown by data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Michigan is generally safe from hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.Which country is best for survival? ›
These countries include not just Australia and New Zealand, but also Iceland, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. There would "likely be pockets of survivors around the planet in even the most severe" scenario, the researchers wrote in the study.What part of the US is safest from natural disasters? ›
Indiana (tied) The Hoosier state has had just over 50 disasters since 1953, with the most common being severe storms and floods. With an average of less than one declared disaster per year, and no declared disasters since 2021, Indiana tops our list of states with the least natural disasters.What is the most common natural disaster in the United States? ›
Flood. Ninety percent of natural disasters within the United States involve flooding.What country has no natural disasters? ›
Monaco and Andora are the countries least affected by natural disasters according to a 2022 study.Which US states will be least affected by climate change? ›
- Maine. ...
- Wyoming. ...
- California. ...
- Florida. ...
- Utah. ...
- South Carolina. ...
- Texas. ...
First place goes to San Francisco, with only two days of extreme heat and a low temperature just below freezing at 27 degrees. Second place goes to San Diego, followed by Los Angeles. Both have an average yearly temperature of 60 degrees with sunny days 70% of the year.Which US cities are most vulnerable to sea level rise? ›
Climate change poses a significant threat to the economies of U.S. cities, with metro areas like San Francisco, New York City and Phoenix among the most at risk of sea-level rise, extreme heat and water stress, according to a Moody's Analytics report.What parts of the US will be hit hardest by climate change? ›
- New Mexico.
- Louisiana seaboard.
- Washington state.
- Southern Florida.
- Western Oregon.
- The south-eastern coast.
- Southern California.
- Portugal. #1 in Pleasant climate. #26 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Greece. #2 in Pleasant climate. #25 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Spain. #3 in Pleasant climate. ...
- New Zealand. #4 in Pleasant climate. ...
- Italy. #5 in Pleasant climate. ...
- Costa Rica. #6 in Pleasant climate. ...
- Brazil. #7 in Pleasant climate. ...
- Argentina. #8 in Pleasant climate.
- Medellin, Colombia. Temperature: 64.4 to 82.4 degree Fahrenheit. ...
- Nice, France. Temperature: 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit on average. ...
- Loja, Ecuador. Temperature: 78.8 to 86 Degree Fahrenheit. ...
- Kunming, China. ...
- Sydney, Australia. ...
- Malaga, Spain. ...
- San Diego, California, U.S.
- Norfolk, Virginia. Average weather summer: 73°F to 88°F. ...
- Huntsville, Alabama. Average weather summer: 70°F to 89°F. ...
- Tallahassee, Florida. Average weather summer: 73°F to 91°F. ...
- San Antonio, Texas. ...
- Greensboro, North Carolina. ...
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ...
- Springfield, Missouri. ...
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1. California. You can't beat the south and central California coast for pleasant temperatures year round. Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Maria all have average daily highs no less than the mid-60s for any month of the year.What cities will be underwater in 2100? ›
According to the World Economic Forum (opens in new tab), by 2100, Dhaka, Bangladesh (population 22.4 million); Lagos, Nigeria (population 15.3 million); and Bangkok, Thailand (population 9 million) could also be entirely drowned or have vast tracts of land underwater and unusable.Which country will be more affected due to sea level rise? ›
Which countries will be affected most by rising sea levels? China, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, the Netherlands, the United States, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific islands such as Tonga and Fiji are among the countries most at risk as sea levels rise, according to data content site Visual Capitalist.What city in the US has the lowest sea level? ›
Badwater Basin is home to the lowest point in North America. Significance: Lowest point in North America.