Sea level rise is the result of two primary biophysical factors reacting to climate change. First, as the oceans absorb excess CO2 from the atmosphere, it causes ocean temperatures to rise which expands the volume of water in the ocean. Second, as global temperatures on average increase, arctic glaciers and ice caps melt that add additional volume to ocean water levels. As a result of this, in combination with other drivers of change (such as dredge and fill activities), coastal wetlands have been lost at an alarming rate. In fact, between the years 2004 to 2009, the rate of loss was 25% greater than from the previous reporting period of 1998-2004. Annually that adds up to 80,160 acres of coastal wetlands being lost each year. Many scientists predict that the rapid rate of sea level rise will outpace the evolutionary adaptive capacity of coastal wetland flora and fauna. Heavy development pressure in most coastal areas restricts the ability of wetlands to naturally migrate inward. And the further degradation of the remaining coastal wetlands will certainly reduce species diversity as well as increase the risks to human health and property from flooding, storm surges and groundwater contamination. Below you will find a list of links for topics relating to wetlands and sea level rise, as well as links to related publications, news stories, blogs, and sea level rise modeling tools. For sea level rise-related tools, such as videos, webinars, models, training opportunities to use those tools, click here.
Impact of Sea Level Rise to Wetlands