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.
New elevation data show that by midcentury frequent coastal flooding will rise higher than areas currently home to hundreds of millions of people
Unchecked warming emissions are projected to leave hundreds of houses of worship in areas vulnerable to chronic flooding by midcentury.
See science-backed scenarios incorporating the possibility of rapid onset Antarctic collapse in the second half of the century. Explore the map.
On the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Climate Central has ranked the U.S. cities most vulnerable to major coastal floods.
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.
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.
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.