Identifying Areas Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise in Georgia

NOAA Digital Coast – December 2012
Like many coastal communities, the City of Tybee Island has been experiencing sea level rise for decades. To better prepare for and adapt to rising seas, the city needed an adaptation plan, as well as a tool to identify areas most vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise. The NOAA Sea Grant Community Climate Adaptation Initiative, which includes several partners, worked with the City of Tybee Island to identify the areas of the island most vulnerable to sea level rise using the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer. For more information, click here.

Coastal Hazards & Storm Information: Sea Level Rise

North Carolina Division of Coastal Management – April 20, 2012
What’s being done to prepare North Carolina for sea-level rise? The Coastal Resources Commission and the Division of Coastal Management have taken several steps to evaluate and prepare for the risks associated with an increase in sea level and have come up with a six part framework for action. The first step was a scoping survey conducted by DCM in the summer and fall of 2009. This was followed by the preparation of a Sea-Level Rise Assessment Report by the N.C. Coastal Resource Commission’s Science Panel on Coastal Hazards in March 2010. Additional steps that will be taken are (1) Policy Development, (2) recommendations to the Executive Branch for adaptation and building resilience, (3) amendments to Coastal Management Program regulations and land use planning guidelines, and (4) coordination with state agencies and local government planning. For full report, click here. For additional information, see NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and U.S. EPA Climate Change Science:  Sea Level Changes

DE Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee to Host Public Engagement Sessions

Delaware Coastal Programs
The Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee has been assessing the potential future impacts of sea level rise on Delaware and will be holding five public engagement sessions over the course of the month of November. Each session will feature informative presentations, displays staffed by subject matter experts and committee members, and opportunities to provide comments and feedback. For additional information, including a full list of the dates, times, and locations of the public engagement sessions, click here. For those unable to attend in person, copies of the presentations, displays, and handouts from the sessions will be available online by November 15th.

Computer model shows Connecticut shoreline moving inland

By Frank Juliano – Connecticut Post
It sounds like one of those epic disaster movies: Metro-North Railroad tracks underwater. Expensive beachfront homes smashed into splinters and washed away. Local landmarks like the Pootatuck Yacht Club in Stratford, Seaside Park in Bridgeport and Milford's iconic Charles Island all simply gone. Those scenes aren't created by Hollywood special effects, but they are what a sophisticated computer model predicts for the area's shoreline by 2090. Lest you think that is too far off to worry about, the computer tool developed by The Nature Conservancy shows startling changes along Long Island Sound within the next 10 years. "We believe that climate change is the greatest threat to Long Island Sound, and it is critical to coastal towns," said Nathan Frohling, director of the Lower Connecticut River Program of The Nature Conservancy. For full story, click here.

Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact  – August 2012

North Carolina Sea Level Rise Impact Study

North Carolina has been identified by NOAA as one of three states with significant vulnerability to sea level rise.  The state possesses the second largest estuarine system in the United States (the Albermarle-Pamlico Estuarine System), with an extensive barrier island chain, and over 2,300 square miles of coastal land vulnerable to a 1 m rise in sea level (Poulter et al, 2009).  The large exposure of North Carolina to the affects of sea level rise necessitates an evaluation of the potential system-wide impacts to built and living assets.  In recognition of this need, the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management received a grant from FEMA to comprehensively study the change in exposure and potential impacts to built and living systems, and to develop science-based mitigation and adaptation strategies that may pro-actively reduce future impacts. For more information, click here.

Salt Marsh Sediments Help Gauge Climate-Change-Induced Sea Level Rise

Science Daily – June 20, 2011
One problem with current model estimates of sea level rise is that they do not account for all of the potentially important processes. The simulations cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its 2007 report did not include the effects of ice melting from glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. The researchers chose North Carolina salt marshes for their sediment samples because the area is relatively free of impacts related to the slow rebounding of Earth's surface from the weight of the ice sheet that covered parts of North America during the last ice age. This minimized the necessary adjustments for the rebound. For full story, click here.

RealClimate: 2000 Years of Sea Level

RealClimate – June 20, 2011
When sea level rises the salt marsh grows upwards, because it traps sediments. The sediment layers accumulating in this way can be examined and dated. Their altitude as it depends on age already provides a rough sea level history. Kemp and colleagues used salt marshes in North Carolina, where the land has steadily sunk by about two meters in the past two millennia due to glacial isostatic adjustment. Thus a roughly 2.5 meters long sediment core is obtained. The effect of land subsidence later needs to be subtracted out in order to obtain the sea level rise proper. For full report, click here.

South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium: Coastal Heritage – Summer 2009

By John H. Tibbetts – South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium – 2009
As sea level inches upward, salt marshes migrate, colonizing dry land. Higher tides deposit sediments on lawns and forestlands, smothering grass and other terrestrial vegetation. Then salt-marsh plants, particularly Spartina alterniflora, take over and build coastal wetlands there. Salt marshes provide habitat for birds, nurseries and habitat for fisheries, pollution filters, and (perhaps in some locations) storm buffers for coastal communities. For full report on Sea-Level Rise: Adapting to a Changing Coast, click here.

NASA GISS: Science Briefs: The Vanishing Marshes of Jamaica Bay

By Ellen K. Hartig and Vivien Gornitz – GISS NASA – December 2001
Salt marshes form in the intertidal zone and can usually keep pace with present-day rates of sea level rise through upward growth and sediment deposition. For full brief, click here.