Thousands of New Jersey residents live in homes more prone to flooding from rising seas, according to a new study by a Princeton-based research group, Climate Central.

“As the seas rise as they will do…there will literally be about 140,000 people in New Jersey who will potentially be underwater. They live on land that is less that one meter above the high water mark, which could be completely flooded in the next decade” said spokesman Richard Wiles.

Nearly 4 million people across the nation live in homes more prone to flooding from rising seas fueled by global warming, the study shows.

The cities that have the most people living within three feet (one meter) of high tide – the projected sea level rise by the year 2100 made by many scientists and computer models – are in Florida, Louisiana, and New York. New York City, often not thought of as a city prone to flooding, has 141,000 people at risk, which is second only to New Orleans’ 284,000.

Sea level has already risen about 8 inches since 1880 because warmer waters expand, Wiles said. In addition to the basic physics of ever-warming water expanding, scientist say hotter climate will cause some melting of glaciers in Greenland and western Antarctica that would then cause seas to rise even more.

Flooding from Hurricane Irene last year illustrated how vulnerable coastal places such as Manhattan are with a combination of storms and sea level rise, according to Wiles.

“Thousands of homes are at risk from these 3 or 4 foot storm surges and that is less than we had when Irene rolled through here last year.”

Using data from the latest census, Climate Central also has developed an interactive system that allows people to check their risk by entering a ZIP code.