Coastal Flooding

Coastal flooding is on the rise. As the world warms, land ice and ice shelves melt, with their water flowing into the global oceans. At the same time, the volume of the water itself expands when warmed. These two elements contribute to sea level rise. Globally, sea levels have risen about 7 inches since the beginning of the 20th century. This heightened level of water is increasing the number of coastal floods during regular high tides and during coastal storms, whether those storms are tropical systems or non-tropical systems such as Nor’easters.

Repeated coastal flooding is already causing recurring damage to infrastructure and higher sea levels have raised water tables and salinity levels, damaging or killing some coastal habitats. Future estimates of sea level rise vary, but a global average of 2-4 feet of rise is expected by 2100, with the potential for several feet more by that time.

Resources for covering coastal flooding:

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Interactives

Surging Seas

A comprehensive website examining sea level rise and potential impacts for coastal cities across the U.S.

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Risk Finder

Projections, analysis, comparisons, and downloadable data and local reports about coastal flood and sea level threats to people, property and infrastructure. For cities, counties, states, ZIPs, and much more.

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The Human Fingerprint on Coastal Floods

There are human fingerprints on thousands of U.S. coastal floods — and countless more the world over. Also includes full report.

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U.S. Cities We Could Lose to the Sea

Historic carbon emissions have already locked in enough future sea level rise to submerge most of the homes in each of several hundred American towns and cities.

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Reports

Antarctic Modeling Pushes Up Sea-Level Rise Projections

See science-backed scenarios incorporating the possibility of rapid onset Antarctic collapse in the second half of the century. Explore the map.

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These U.S. Cities Are Most Vulnerable to Major Coastal Flooding and Sea Level Rise

On the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Climate Central has ranked the U.S. cities most vulnerable to major coastal floods.

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Extreme Sea Level Rise and the Stakes for America

The extreme scenario would mean roughly 10 to 12 feet of sea level rise by 2100, depending on location, for all coastal states but Alaska — a significant departure above the global average projection (just over 8 feet). Read the news story and explore the 3D and 2D maps.

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Maps

Explore Extreme Sea Level in 3D

This sea level rise KML overlay shows projected U.S. sea levels for the year 2100 under an “extreme” scenario published in NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083, Global and Regional SLR Scenarios for the U.S. (January 2017). This scenario corresponds to rapid ice loss in West Antarctica this century.

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Risk Zone Map

This global interactive map — searchable by city or postal code — shows areas vulnerable to permanent submergence from sea level rise, or to flooding from sea level rise, storm surge, tides, and tsunamis, in different combinations.

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Mapping Choices

Mapping Choices is an interactive global map that allows anyone to type in a coastal city or postal code, and visually compare the potential long-term consequences of different emissions and warming scenarios.

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Seeing Choices

Seeing Choices presents an animated, global interactive map that reveals the effect of rising global temperatures on coastal cities. Search for any coastal city to see local locked-in sea level rise as climate heats up.

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Extreme Scenario 2100

This map shows projected U.S. sea levels for the year 2100 under an “extreme” scenario published in NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083, Global and Regional SLR Scenarios for the U.S. (January 2017). This scenario corresponds to rapid ice loss in West Antarctica this century.

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Stakes Rising: Year 2100

Without big cuts in climate pollution, an unstable Antarctica could double previous sea level projections. This map shows what could be affected

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Video

Google Earth City Flyover Videos

Maps are one way to visualize sea level rise. Google Earth lets us put our research findings in three dimensions.

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Nuisance Flooding Explainer Video

Even minor coastal flooding, sometimes called nuisance flooding, affects communities and their infrastructure.

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