Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are citing their new sea level rise report as a global wake-up call that offers America information to act now to best position the nation for the future.
“As we build a climate ready nation these updated data can inform coastal communities and others about current and future vulnerabilities in the face of climate change and help them make smart decisions to keep people and property safe over the long run,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said.
“The U.S. will see as much sea level rise in 30 years as we have seen over the last century,” he remarked.
The research, which is the first update since 2017, offers projections out to the year 2150, with information to help communities, particularly coastal communities assess changes in average tide heights and height-specific threshold frequencies as they work to adapt to sea level rise.
The report, which predicts sea level rises of four-to-eight inches on the West Coast, six-to-eight inches for the Hawaiian Islands, and eight to 10 inches for northern Alaska, was led by NOAA. Collaborators included the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Service, Department of Homeland Security, Defense Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“For businesses along the coast, knowing what to expect and how to plan for the future is critical,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “These updated projections will help businesses and the communities they support, understand risks and make smart investments in the years ahead.”
“This new data on sea rise is the latest reconfirmation that our climate crisis, as the President has said, is blinking ‘code red’,” National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy said. “Efforts must be redoubled to cut greenhouse gases that cause climate change while at the same time help our coastal communities become more resilient in the face of rising seas.”
“By 2050 moderate flooding, which is typically disruptive and damaging by today’s weather, sea level and infrastructure standards, is expected to occur more than 10 times as often as it does today,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service director. She joined Spinrad and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson to present the report at a mid-February teleconference.
The report forecasts sea level rise to create a profound shift in coastal flooding over the next 30 years by causing tide and storm surge heights to increase and reach further inland. By 2050, moderate or typically damaging flooding is expected to occur, on average more than 10 times as often as it does today, and can be intensified by local factors, the report stated.
Continuously tracking how and why sea levels are changing is cited in the report as an important part of informing plans for adaptation.
The complete report is available online at oceanservice.noaa.gov/hazards/sealevelrise