We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (2023)

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We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (1)

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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.
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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.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (2)

Brian S/Shutterstock

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.

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Hartford, Connecticut is also not vulnerable to sea-level rise.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (3)


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.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (4)

Brennan Linsley/AP Photo

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.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (5)


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.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (6)


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."

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Minnesota's twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are relatively sheltered from hurricanes and floods.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (7)

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

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.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (8)


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.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (9)


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.

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Portland, Oregon could become a refuge for climate migrants.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (10)


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.

We asked 12 climate scientists where they'd live in the US to avoid future natural disasters. Here's what they said. (11)

Dmitrii Sakharov/Shutterstock

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."

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How many scientists actually agree on climate change? ›

Yes, the vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists – 97 percent – agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change.

Where can I move to avoid climate change in USA? ›

The best cities for climate change
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Where is the best place to live to avoid climate change? ›

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.

Where can we avoid natural disasters? ›

Those trying to avoid natural disasters and the fallout from climate change might want to move to the Southwest. Counties in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah have the lowest risk of environmental peril, according to a recent study from CoreLogic, a real estate data firm.

What is the truth about climate change? ›

Climate change is real and human-made, and there is overwhelming scientific consensus that this is true. Human-produced pollution is the main cause of climate change and this will become much more dangerous in the future if we do not act.

What percentage of people agree with climate change? ›

Only a median of 46% across the publics polled are confident that actions taken by the international community will significantly reduce the effects of climate change. A median of 52% are not confident these actions will reduce the effects of climate change.

Where will be the safest place to live in 2050? ›

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. How can the world collaborate to minimize temperature rise to save as many lives as possible?

What is the best state to live in after climate change? ›

Best states for climate change
  • Maine. ...
  • Wyoming. ...
  • California. ...
  • Florida. ...
  • Utah. ...
  • South Carolina. ...
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  • Methodology. States were ranked by analyzing their susceptibility to the conditions brought about or worsened by climate change, including drought, floods, wildfires, storms and other extreme weather conditions.
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What states are the best to live in for climate change? ›

Each state was ranked based on five environmental factors. These were Carbon Emissions, the Adoption of Green Technology, Landfill Usage, Recycling and Green Policies. Overall, the top five best states concerning climate resilience are California, Maine, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts.

What is the safest state in the future with climate change? ›

Key points. 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.

What US cities will be 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.

Where is the best climate in the world? ›

#1 Portugal. Portugal has some of the mildest weather in all of Europe with wet, temperate winters and dry, warm to hot summers, depending on location. Bordered by over 1,100 miles of Atlantic coastline the country has a mild Mediterranean climate with some variations throughout.

Which US state is safest from natural disasters? ›


Montana features both the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains and is one of the safest states from natural disasters. It is generally safe from hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes, however, it does experience flooding.

Where is the best place to live in the US to avoid natural disasters? ›

In 2021, U.S. News and World Report analyzed resiliency data from the Environmental Protection Agency and found that the top five most climate-resilient cities in the U.S. were Anchorage, Alaska; Honolulu; Spokane, Washington; Eugene, Oregon; and Santa Barbara, California.

What state has the safest weather? ›

expected deaths = (deaths per tornado) (tornado count)+(deaths per flood) (flood count) + ... From the table, we can see the Hawaii is ranked #1 in safety, e.g. Hawaii has the lowest expected deaths per year caused by tornados, floods, wildfires, blizzards, and hurricanes.

Will we 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.

How bad is climate change in 2050? ›

Climate shifts like heat waves could restrict the ability of people to work outdoor, and, in extreme cases, put their lives at risk. Under a 2050 climate scenario developed by NASA, continuing growth of the greenhouse emission at today's rate could lead to additional global warming of about 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Can we stop climate change? ›

Yes. While we cannot stop global warming overnight, we can slow the rate and limit the amount of global warming by reducing human emissions of heat-trapping gases and soot (“black carbon”).

Who is doing the most against climate change? ›

Denmark tops the list of countries doing the most to protect the environment, and continues to set ambitious goals, among them having at least half its energy consumption come from renewables by 2030 and to be independent of fossil fuels by 2050.

Who is the number one contributor to climate change? ›

Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Who is the number one cause of climate change? ›

Human activity is the main cause of climate change. People burn fossil fuels and convert land from forests to agriculture. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, people have burned more and more fossil fuels and changed vast areas of land from forests to farmland.

What is the safest place in the world to life? ›

According to the GPI 2021 report, Iceland was ranked the safest country in the world for the 13th consecutive year, followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Austria, and Denmark. The GPI takes into account 23 indicators that are grouped under three domains: ongoing conflict, safety and security, and militarization.

Which country is safest in future? ›

So, the safest countries in the world, in order of ranking, are the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, Australia, Norway, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Belgium.

What is the safest country in the world to live in 2023? ›

Which country has ranked the safest place in the world in the Global Peace Index 2023? According to the GPI, Iceland is the safest place in the world, ranking 1st with a score of 1,107.

What countries will benefit from climate change? ›

  • The top countries ranked by resilience to climate change.
  • New Zealand.
  • Finland.
  • Denmark.
  • Sweden.
  • Switzerland.
  • Singapore.
  • Austria.
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Is Colorado safe from climate change? ›

People in Colorado will experience especially increased risks from heat, drought, and fire due to climate change over the next 30 years. These risks, through 2050 and beyond, may change depending on how much we reduce emissions in the near future.

Is this a La Nina year 2023? ›

La Niña—the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern—has left the building! After a year and half of non-stop La Niña, the tropical Pacific ocean-atmosphere system has transitioned to neutral, allowing NOAA to issue its “Final La Niña Advisory”.

What are the worst states for climate change? ›

Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and North Carolina were the worst-off states for climate-driven disasters, while the worst hit cities were nearly all in the Carolinas and Florida.

How long will it take for all the ice to melt? ›

But an Earth completely free of ice isn't going to happen within our lifetimes, or likely even within the next few thousand years. Most projections put sea-level rise at around a foot by 2100 — far less than what's possible. By the next century, Earth's ice sheets will still be firmly in place, if diminished.

What states will be affected by rising sea levels? ›

Other states with disproportionately high development rates in high-risk zones include Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Hawaii.

Is Seattle safe from climate change? ›

According to a recent ranking from Policygenius of the top 50 largest urban areas in the United States, Seattle is actually the second most climate resilient city in the nation, only beat out by San Francisco.

How will Colorado be affected by climate change? ›

In the coming decades, the changing climate is likely to decrease water availability and agricultural yields in Colorado, and further increase the risk of wildfires. Our climate is changing because the earth is warming.

What city is most ready for climate change? ›

Sacramento, California is the best place to live for climate change in 2022.

Which cities will be destroyed by climate change? ›

This is a list of ten cities that are vulnerable to climate change.
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Which US city has the best climate? ›

1 city with the best weather in the U.S.? Honolulu, Hawaii. Honolulu took the top spot with an average annual temperature of 77.7 degrees. While the city endures an average of 93 rainy days per year, it also averages 90 sunny days and zero days where the temperature dips below freezing.

Why do scientists disagree about global warming? ›

The authors point to four reasons why scientists disagree about global warming: a conflict among scientists in different and often competing disciplines; fundamental scientific uncertainties concerning how the global climate responds to the human presence; failure of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on ...

Do meteorologists believe in climate change? ›

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What are some opposing viewpoints on climate change? ›

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Which best explains why scientific ideas lack scientific consensus? They are new ideas.


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