Chinese pavilion | ©Jimmy LLTsang | Getty Images

Chinese pavilion in Guangzhou, China (©Jimmy LLTsang/Getty Images)

Researchers at the University of Southampton in England have figured out which cities around the world are most vulnerable to coastal flooding, according to Live Science. The study revealed a list of 20 cities that face the worst damage from floods. Nearly all of them are in Asia and North America, five of them are in the United States.

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The study began after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Scientists realized they didn't know which cities were most vulnerable to flooding. They compiled data on 136 coastal cities, including population distribution, elevation, and flood protection. They combined those data with forecasts of sea-level rise and groundwater depletion. They came up with this list of the top 20 most vulnerable cities:

1. Guangzhou, China
2. Mumbai, India
3. Kolkata, India
4. Guayaquil, Ecuador
5. Shenzen, China
6. Miami
7. Tianjin, China
8. New York City-Newark, N.J.
9. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
10. New Orleans
11. Jakarta, Indonesia
12. Abidjan, Ivory Coast
13. Chennai, India
14. Surat, India
15. Zhanjiang, China
16. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
17. Boston
18. Bangkok
19. Xiamen, China
20. Nagoya, Japan

Trending topic: flood risk cities

Even in their best-case-scenario projection of sea level rise, researchers warn that by 2050 the yearly global cost of flood damage will be higher than $1 trillion. If cities take steps to prevent flood damage now, they say, the cost could be brought down to around $50 billion per year.

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