Before you do anything else, you might want to explore coastal areas threatened by sea level rise…

SEA LEVEL RISE & FLOODING

SEA LEVEL RISE & FLOODING

SEA LEVEL RISE & FLOODING

NASA says that seas have risen since 1992 by 3 inches, with some locations rising more than 9 inches, and anticipates an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

Caused by four main factors, of which two are global (ice melting and warming waters that expand) and two are local (a slowing Gulf Stream and sinking land), the amount and speed of sea level rise varies by location.

The consequences are staggering, creating more dangerous and powerful hurricanes and storm surges, and resulting in more intense and frequent flooding, and devastation to coastal communities. In the United States, almost 40 percent of the population live in relatively high-population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms. You might be surprised to learn of the creation of ghost forests. 

You might also want to watch a 4-part PBS series Sinking Cities which takes a look into how four cities (Miami, London, Tokyo, & New York) — all at particular risk — are adapting.

Flood Factor has a fascinating site where you can explore your flood risk by entering an address.

CREDIT: IPCC

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

Sea Level Trends

04/18/22
The sea level trends measured by tide gauges that are presented here are local relative sea level (RSL) trends as opposed to the global sea level trend. Tide gauge measurements are made with respect to…

Interactive map: How has local sea level in the United States changed over time?

03/02/22
Global sea level has risen between 6 and 8 inches (15-20 cm) over the last 100 years. About one third of the increase is due to the thermal expansion of ocean water as it has…

State Of The Beach Report

10/31/21
Greta is known for her famous speeches before world leaders. She recently spoke at COP 26 where delegates from around the world are charged with fulfilling goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework…

Animation: Global Sea Level Change (1992-2017)

10/19/21
This animation shows how global sea levels have risen more than 80 millimeters (3.15 inches) over the past three decades, which is like covering the U.S. in about 4 meters (about 13 feet) of water…

Global Climate Change Vital Facts

09/01/21
Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms. The first graph tracks the…

Coming Storms: Climate Change And The Rising Threat To America’s Coastal Seniors

03/21/21
A new Climate Central sea-level-rise analysis identifies the assisted living and nursing homes at risk in five states. Experts say waiting to evacuate during storms is not the answer.

Science Empowering Communities In The Face Of Flooding

10/06/20
Surging Waters: Science Empowering Communities in the Face of Flooding is a report produced by AGU, a global not-for-profit scientific society dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity.

Storm Surge Inundation Map

06/12/20
This story map illustrates historical hurricane tracks, strike frequency, and potential areas of coastal flooding and inundation from storms by combining the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC’s) hurricane strike dataset.

What is Digital Coast?

06/11/20
This NOAA-sponsored website is focused on helping communities address coastal issues and has become one of the most-used resources in the coastal management community. The dynamic Digital Coast Partnership, whose members represent the website’s primary…

Association of State Floodplain Managers

06/10/20
The mission of ASFPM is to promote education, policies and activities that mitigate current and future losses, costs and human suffering caused by flooding, and to protect the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains -…

Sea Level Rise Adaptation

03/28/20
Sea level rise is a slow-moving threat, but it demands immediate action. Global heating creates extreme hazards that cause significant harm to people, homes, infrastructure, and the environment. In California, we are already facing many…

The Great Flood of 2019: A Complete Picture of a Slow-Motion Disaster

02/05/20
This year’s flooding across the Midwest and the South affected nearly 14 million people, yet the full scale of the slowly unfolding disaster has been difficult to fathom. To visualize just how extensive it was,…

Going under: Long wait times for post-flood buyouts leave homeowners underwater

11/18/19
By the end of this century, as many as 13 million people in the United States will see their homes affected by sea level rise. Millions more who live, work, or travel through coastal or…

SeaLevelRise.org

10/29/19
People truly need to understand the causes of sea level rise and the impact it has on our communities. By working together, we can develop smart solutions to protect against this ever-growing problem. Our communities can make…

Flood IQ

10/01/19
Flood iQ covers the East coast and the Gulf coast, and visualizes your risk of sea level rise flooding today and up to 15 years in the future. It is a web based application created…

NASA – Sea level change

09/11/19
Find a ton of information here on sea level, including news & features, a data analysis tool, a virtual earth system laboratory, and more.

Sea Level Rise Project

09/10/19
Climate Central's flagship sea level project allows you to search or navigate interactive maps to see areas below different amounts of sea level rise and flooding — down to neighborhood scale — matched with area timelines of…

Understanding FEMA Flood Maps and Limitations

03/21/19
Flooding in the United States (U.S.) has cost over $1 trillion in inflation adjusted dollars since 1980 and represents more than 63% of the cost associated with all billion dollar or more natural disasters.1 It…

MORE NEWS

Louisiana’s $2-Billion Gamble: Flood the Land to Save the Coast

By Duy Linh Tu and Julian Lim   01/27/22  
After Hurricane Ida slammed into the Louisiana coast in August 2021, it took more than 100 lives and cost billions of dollars in damage. To some here, the storm was just one more justification for…

‘Coastal county snapshots’ delivers new tools, data for climate resilience

By NOAA  Photo: Coastal County Snapshots   01/18/22  
A major update to a popular NOAA tool used to inform planning and decision-making in coastal communities is now online. Coastal County Snapshots, available on NOAA’s Digital Coast platform, turns complex data into easy-to-understand charts,…

Crucial Antarctic ice shelf could fail within five years, scientists say

By Sarah Kaplan  Photo: Peter Davis/British Antarctic Survey   12/13/21  
Scientists have discovered a series of worrying weaknesses in the ice shelf holding back one of Antarctica’s most dangerous glaciers, suggesting that this important buttress against sea level rise could shatter within the next three…

Climate change could make Virginia’s Tangier Island uninhabitable by 2051

By Trishla Ostwal  Photo: Patrick Bloodgood , USACE   12/06/21  
Virginia’s Tangier Island is rapidly disappearing. Rising sea levels are exacerbating erosion and flooding, and could make the speck of land in the Chesapeake Bay uninhabitable within the next few decades. For years, island residents,…

How the coastal mid-Atlantic is haunted by sea-level rise

By Samantha Harrington  Photo: Cody Pfister   11/05/21  
From ghost forests to sinking farmland, coastal salt marshes are rapidly shifting as the oceans rise. The Local Motives team, Nate Murray and Cody Pfister, traveled to New Jersey and Maryland to understand the impact…

Hawaii’s beaches are disappearing due to climate change

By Janae Morris  Photo: Getty Images   10/31/21  
Rising sea levels paired with recent storm surges have been causing faster than usual erosion on Hawaii’s beaches and shorelines. "The coastal issues that are related to climate change are sort of the canary in…

1 big thing: Locking in sea level rise for centuries

By Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman   10/12/21  
Nations’ follow through — or lack thereof — on pledges made at the coming UN climate summit will help determine the long-term fate of tens of millions of people living in coastal mega-cities threatened by…

These images show what Boston landmarks will look like underwater depending on the climate choices we make

By Sabrina Shankman   10/12/21  
In its lifetime, Boston Common has seen grazing cattle, public hangings, and protests against slavery and wars. It has seen visits from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II and the…

The price of living near the shore is already high. It’s about to go through the roof.

By Darryl Fears and Lori Rozsa  Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP   10/01/21  
As FEMA prepares to remove subsidies from its flood insurance, a new assessment says 8 million homeowners in landlocked states are at risk of serious flooding because of climate change

Devastating floods spur new debate on how best to warn people

By Bob Henson   09/16/21  
How do you convince people and officials in charge to expect the unexpected? That question has come into the spotlight in recent weeks after two deadly yet highly contrasting U.S. flash flood events.

How Government Decisions Left Tennessee Exposed to Deadly Flooding

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo: Brandon Dill , The New York Times   08/26/21  
The floods that killed at least 20 people in Tennessee last weekend arrived with shocking speed and force — seemingly a case study of the difficulties of protecting people from explosive rainstorms as climate change…

How should California confront the rising sea? These lawmakers have some bold ideas

By Rosanna Xia  Photo: Carolyn Cole , Los Angeles Times   08/20/21  
In a year marked by record-breaking wildfires, extreme heat and unprecedented water shortages, California lawmakers say there’s another — seemingly distant, but just as urgent — climate catastrophe the state cannot afford to ignore: sea level rise.

The Long, Slow Drowning of the New Jersey Shore

By Andrew S. Lewis  Photo: Davin Oktar Yalkin , The New York Times   08/12/21  
From a satellite’s point of view, New Jersey’s barrier islands barely register, like fine white bones pulled from a body of green, separated by a vascular tissue of wetlands and shallow bays.

Sea level projections from the IPCC 6th Assessment Report (AR6)

08/09/21  
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential…

NASA, International Panel Provide a New Window on Rising Seas

By Pat Brennan  Photo: Aileen Devlin   08/09/21  
NASA’s Sea Level Change Team has created a sea level projection tool that makes extensive data on future sea level rise from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) easily accessible to the public –…

Sea level projections from the IPCC 6th Assessment Report (AR6)

08/09/21  
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its…
CNN

The amount of Greenland ice that melted on Tuesday could cover Florida in 2 inches of water

By Rachel Ramirez   07/30/21  
Greenland is experiencing its most significant melting event of the year as temperatures in the Arctic surge. The amount of ice that melted on Tuesday alone would be enough to cover the entire state of…

Will Power is Key to Tackling the Ocean Plastic Crisis

By Tina Casey   07/28/21  
As Plastic-Free July draws to a close, the looming ocean plastic crisis is still growing by the day. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A new scientific study indicates that solutions…

Could A Surfside Building Disaster Happen On The NY Or NJ Coast?

By Lydia MCMullen-Laird   07/26/21  
Last week, search crews reached the bottom of the rubble at the Champlain Towers condo building site in Surfside, Florida, where at least 98 people perished due to a deadly collapse in June. The exact cause is still unclear,…

Opinion: We are fiddling while the world burns, floods and chokes

By Eugene Robinson  Photo: Mason Trinca , The Washington Post   07/22/21  
We are fiddling while the world burns. And floods. And chokes. And maybe even careens past some kind of unforeseen climate change tipping point that will make what are now extreme weather events devastatingly commonplace.

Floods Thrust Climate Change to Center of German Campaign as Toll Mounts

By Melissa Eddy and Steven Erlanger  Photo: Gordon Welters   07/18/21  
With more than 160 dead across the region, the receding waters revealed extensive damage as well as deep political divides around how far and fast Germans should go to stem carbon use.

Be Very Careful Where You Build That Seawall

By Matt Simon   07/14/21  
THINK BACK TO being a kid at the beach, building walls around your sandcastles. If you engineered those fortifications properly, the tide would come in and flow around your kingdom, before the walls eventually eroded away.…

What We Need to Learn from the Tragedy in Surfside

By Amy Davidson Sorkin  Illustration by João Fazenda   07/04/21  
Sara Nir was in her ground-floor apartment in Champlain Towers South, in Surfside, Florida, at around 1 a.m. on June 24th when, as she told CNN, she heard loud knocking noises. She went outside to…

A Space Laser Shows How Catastrophic Sea Level Rise Will Be

By Matt Simon  Photo: Adek Berry/getty Images   06/29/21  
An actual space laser is cruising 300 miles above your head right now. Launched in 2018, NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite packs a lidar instrument, the same kind of technology that allows self-driving cars to see in…

Before condo collapse, rising seas long pressured Miami coastal properties

By Joshua Partlow and others  Photo: Zack Wittman   06/26/21  
The 12-story condominium tower that crashed down early Thursday near Miami Beach was built on reclaimed wetlands and is perched on a barrier island facing an ocean that has risen about a foot in the…

‘The ocean is coming.’ A chieftess sees her islands sink

By Daniel Cusick  Photo: Francis Chung/E&E News   06/16/21  
We binya and ain gwine nowhey! De sea ain gwine be hiya den we." "We won't be leaving this land. We will rise and remain." — from Gullah/Geechee. The Gullah/Geechee Nation of the south Atlantic…

With Start of Hurricane Season, It’s Time to Consider Flood Insurance

By Ann Carrns   06/11/21  
This year’s hurricane season began early, with a named storm forming before the official start on June 1, and it is expected to be active. If you lack flood insurance, especially if you live near…

How Capturing Floodwaters Can Reduce Flooding and Combat Drought

By Liza Gross  Photo: George Rose/Getty Images   06/08/21  
Farmers toil at the mercy of nature’s whims, which can prove particularly vexing in California.  Even before climate change, bouncing between drought and deluge was routine in the Central Valley, the state’s richest farming region.…

Opinion: The Arctic’s ice is thinning faster than expected. It’s an ominous sign.

By Editorial Board  Photo by Brian Battaile/AP   06/06/21  
Polar Bears struggling on thin Arctic ice is perhaps the most iconic image associated with climate change. Human-caused global warming is extreme near the poles, where the temperature is rising much faster than elsewhere. The…

Rise in sea level caused $8 billion more damage from Hurricane Sandy, scientists say

By Associated Press  Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP   05/19/21  
Climate-change-triggered sea level rise added $8 billion in damage during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, one of the United States’ costliest weather disasters, a new study says. During Sandy — a late-fall freak combination of a hurricane…

How flood protection can paradoxically put people at risk

By Aisling Irwin  Photo: Rish Agarwal / Unsplash   05/18/21  
Governments who build defences against rising seas can actually increase their citizens' risk of being flooded—if they fail to take account of the 'safe development paradox," according to a flood defence expert. Professor Jeroen Aerts,…

Hundreds of coastal airports at risk from flooding, sea-level rise, study finds

By YCC TEAM  Photo: David Stanley / Flickr   05/13/21  
From La Guardia Airport in New York to Kansai International Airport in Japan, hundreds of coastal airports are at risk of flooding during extreme weather. And as sea levels rise, even more will be vulnerable.…

If the Paris Agreement Fails, Sea Levels Could Rise 33 Feet

By Molly Taft  Photo: Chris Larsen (AP)   05/05/21  
If we keep on the path we’re on, Antarctica might be really, truly toast. A new study shows that the continent might hit a tipping point within this century if we don’t keep warming in…

How to prepare your coastal property for sea-level rise and weather extremes

By Jan Ellen Spiegel  Photo: Ann Tihansky , USGS   04/22/21  
People who live along the Atlantic seaboard are accustomed to dealing with environmental extremes: salt spray that can kill just about anything green; relentless wind that whips vegetation into Leaning Tower of Pisa shapes; sand,…

Rising Sea Levels Bring a Tidal Change to Tourism

By Richard J. Sima  Photo: Money, CC BY SA 4.0   04/22/21  
Climate change is causing ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise. And rising sea levels threaten to drown coastal tourist destinations. To imagine this possible future—and spur action to combat it—the team at Money created…

The value of US coral reefs for flood risk reduction

By Borja G. Reguero   04/15/21  
Habitats, such as coral reefs, can mitigate increasing flood damages through coastal protection services. We provide a fine-scale, national valuation of the flood risk reduction benefits of coral habitats to people, property, economies and infrastructure.…
Pew

As Flood Risk Grows, Experts, Elected Officials Call for More—and Smarter—Federal Action

By Matthew Fuchs and Brian Watts  Photo by Tom Williams   04/13/21  
Flooding is a growing problem across the U.S., from increasingly frequent and intense hurricanes and tidal flooding to seasonal inland events driven by more and heavier rains. As these disasters exact a mounting toll on…

Op-Ed: How to save beaches and coastlines from climate change disasters

By Michael W. Beck  Photo illustration by Nicole Vas   04/11/21  
The frequency of natural disasters has soared in recent decades. Total damage topped $210 billion worldwide in 2020. With climate change, the costs attributed to coastal storms will increase dramatically. At the same time, coastal…

Flood Risks Are Rising Amid Climate Change, But Congress Is Delaying Action

By Leanna First-Arai  Photo: Mario Tama , Getty Images   03/31/21  
The Biden administration is adding a $2 trillion green jobs and infrastructure plan to the list of climate commitments announced in its first 100 days, but pinpointing who will foot the bill for damage caused by rising seas and…

Tiny Town, Big Decision: What Are We Willing to Pay to Fight the Rising Sea?

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo by Erin Schaff   03/14/21  
Bobby Outten, a county manager in the Outer Banks, delivered two pieces of bad news at a recent public meeting. Avon, a town with a few hundred full-time residents, desperately needed at least $11 million…

Sea level rise up to four times global average for coastal communities

03/08/21  
Coastal populations are experiencing relative sea-level rise up to four times faster than the global average—according to new research from the University of East Anglia.
CNN

Flood risk is growing for US homeowners due to climate change. Current insurance rates greatly underestimate the threat, a new report finds

By Drew Kann  Illustration: Renée Rigdon   02/22/21  
Wildfires and hurricane-force winds produce stunning videos and headlines, but flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States.

Warming Seas Are Accelerating Greenland’s Glacier Retreat

01/25/21  
Greenland’s melting glaciers, which plunge into Arctic waters via steep-sided inlets, or fjords, are among the main contributors to global sea level rise in response to climate change.

Increasing Numbers of U.S. Residents Live in High-Risk Wildfire and Flood Zones. Why?

By Anuradha Varanas  Photo by Bryce Bradford   01/22/21  
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that around 13 million Americans are living within a 100-year flood zone. But over the last few years, researchers have found that the government’s estimates are far…

Retreat Varies: California, Florida, and globally

By John Englander  Photo: Kenneth & Gabrielle Adelman   12/14/20  
Retreating from the coastline as sea level rises is one of the most sensitive topics. Homeowners, business leaders, bankers, and elected officials all want to put off the day of reckoning as long as possible.…

Sea level rise and coastal flooding threaten affordable housing

By Maya K Buchanan   12/01/20  
The frequency of coastal floods around the United States has risen sharply in recent decades, and rising seas point to further acceleration in both tidal (or 'nuisance') and extreme floods in the years ahead (Sweet et…

How climate change could spark the next home mortgage disaster

By Zack Colman  Photo: Josh Ritchie   11/30/20  
With its lively parks and colorful bungalows, Hialeah, Fla., has been the gateway to the American middle class for thousands of Cuban immigrants. Hialeah was the place where home ownership, an unattainable goal under the…

Moving a Costal Highway away from the rising sea

By Rosanna Xia   11/29/20  
Inside the state prison system’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Kings County, David Cauthen has spent nearly five weeks on a hunger strike to protest what he sees as indifference and ineptitude by the California…

Rising waters threaten Great Lakes communities

By Alex Brown   10/03/20  
Along a shoreline that stretches farther than the combined length of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, waters driven by climate change have risen as much as 6 feet in less than a decade, washing away…

“How long before my home goes underwater?”

By John Englander   09/21/20  
“Do I have 20 or 30 years before my property floods?” is a typical question I get at least once a week. The other day it was someone about a property in Ochlockee Bay, marked…